German Version

September 10th 1893 - The Ignatius College in Valkenburg

During the Kulturkampf in Germany under Bismarck the Jesuits were banished from Germany by virtue of the law from July 4th 1872. It was difficult to find abroad a replacement for the scholasticate (study house) in Maria Laach. In Ditton Hall (England) was found a provisional accommodation. There Lady Stapleton had left her large country house to the Order. Of course, in the long run that was no solution.

Thus the province purchased an approx. 18 hectare large property in the Dutch small town Valkenburg, situated at the line Aachen-Maastricht. On September 10th 1893 the foundation-stone for the Ignatius College was laid. The costs could be met by selling Maria Laach to the Beuron Benedictines. The building advanced very fast.

On September 22nd 1894 the school year for the Philosophers began with eighty two students. In the middle of August 1895 the Theologians came from Ditton Hall. The school year 1895/96 numbered 112 Philosophers, and 65 Theologians. To the community belonged further thirty Fathers and fifty two Brothers, hence altogether 259 Jesuits. Among the studying were also many foreign Scholastics.

After the abolition of the Writer Home Bellevue in Luxembourg also the editors of the 'Stimmen aus Maria Laach' and of the 'Katholische Missionen' came for some years to Valkenburg. Still during World War I, in the year 1915, the 'Stimmen' moved to Munich, and the 'Katholische Missionen' went after the war to Bonn.

Many of the professors were also active as writers, e.g. the Fathers Pesch, Lehmkuhl, Knabenbauer, Hontheim, Cathrein and Frick, further the Fathers Kirch, Braun, Cladder, Fröbes, Wulf, Wasmann, Jansen, Dieckmann, Kempf, and many others. By the increase of books soon a new large library building became necessary, to accommodate those approx. 180.000 volumes.

When in 1931 the revolution raged in Spain and a church-hostile constitution became effective, the Society of Jesus was dissolved in Spain in January 1932. It came to many extreme excesses. The Professed House in Madrid too fell victim to the flames. About hundred houses were dissolved. A large part of the Jesuits, especially of the rising generation, was forced to emigrate. They went to Italy, France, Belgium, America, and Holland. Many, above all Scholastics, found accomodation in Valkenburg, among them also Father Arrupe, the later General of the Order.

In 1942, during the Second World War Valkenburg was dissolved by the Gestapo. After the war it needed rather a long time, until Father Henry Seelen succeeded in selling the large house.


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