Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, an international religious community which has its United States headquarters in Franklin, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee.
The seminary began because Venerable Leo John Dehon, a French priest and the founder of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, valued education, had a passion for the priesthood and was committed to social justice. Between 1910, when Fr. Dehon first visited the United States, and 1932 a dedicated band of men filled with vision and courage laid the foundation for the Sacred Heart School of Theology. The seminary program was established at Sacred Heart Monastery in 1932 with the introduction of philosophy and theology courses for the seminarians who were members of the religious community. In 1955, the philosophy program was moved elsewhere, and the seminary was dedicated exclusively to the theological preparation of men for priesthood.
Construction of a new building across the street was completed in 1968. In 1972 the name of the school was changed to Sacred Heart School of Theology. This signified the beginning of a change in the character of the school. Prior to 1970, the school exclusively served as the theological seminary for the Priests of the Sacred Heart. That year the seminary began accepting older second-career candidates for the priesthood from other religious communities. The program was called the Center for Adult Religious Vocations (CARV). In 1973, Sacred Heart received approval to accept second-career candidates sponsored by dioceses throughout the country.
The program received initial accreditation by The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada in 1972 and has received reaccreditation continuously since. In 1995, the Higher Learning Commission: a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the program and renewed that accreditation in 1999.
In 2014 the seminary's name was expanded to Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, to reflect the fact that the institution provides all four pillars of priestly formation to resident seminarians (making it a seminary) and also serves as a school of theology for a group of seminarians who receive their human, spiritual and/or pastoral formation in their own houses for formation in the Milwaukee area - receiving only their academic formation at Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart awards master of divinity and a master of arts degrees. The seminary is advised by a board of directors that includes bishops, religious and diocesan priests, women religious and laity. Its faculty is diverse and includes priests from a variety of dioceses, archdioceses and religious communities as well as women religious and laity.
The Sacred Heart campus is comprised of a complex of connected buildings, with a three chapels, classrooms, a library, a dining room, dormitories, conference space and a gym and other recreation areas, all under a single roof. It is located on a partially wooded 80 acre campus in western part of the Milwaukee metropolitan area.