Sunday July 27th. 2014 Charity registration No. SC 002876
Before being transferred to Motherwell as its new bishop, Bishop Toal arranged for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the seminary at Eilean Ban to be celebrated with an open-
Brief History of Eilean Ban
Bishop Gordon saw the great need for a seminary in the Highlands, and had his mind set on Morar, because of its ideal situation in a Catholic region, and where it was unlikely to be interfered with by the laws of the land which prohibited the teaching of Catholics, and clerical students in particular. Morar had already established itself as a safe meeting place for missioners.
The first mention of a Seminary appears in 1712 in correspondence where Bishop Gordon intimated that he wished Fr George Innes, a newly ordained priest just returned from Paris, to be the first Superior of a new Seminary which he planned to establish on Eilean Ban, Loch Morar. The problem in the Highlands was most acute due to the lack of Gaelic-
These would also be more likely to be accepted by the Presbyterian ministers who were so hostile to the resurgence of the Catholic faith. These ministers greatly opposed the conversion to Catholicism of so many of their own adherents -
Bishop Gordon established the Seminary on Eilean Ban in the summer of 1714, on his second Visitation to the Highlands; and George Innes took over the duties of its Superior in the Autumn. To begin with, seven boys entered the Seminary but more arrived later. This was the first seminary for the training of boys for the priesthood to be opened in Britain since the Reformation. Among the first students was Hugh MacDonald, son of the Laird of Morar. He was the first Gaelic-
The 1715 Jacobite Rebellion was a set back for the Eilean Ban Seminary. Situated as it was in Clan Ranald territory and surrounded by staunchly Catholic clans -
Eilean Ban Island, Loch Morar, site of the first seminary after the Reformation.
It was known as the White Island because of the surrounding silver sands of Morar