As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of Scotus College, the national seminary in Scotland, the college community went on pilgrimage to Eilean Ban, an island on Loch Morar, near Mallaig, where there had been a seminary for "heather priests" in the early eighteenth century. Loch Morar is as picturesque a spot as can be found, with the landscape dotted with small islands. Eilean Ban is situated in the middle of the Loch and can only be approached by boat, and so the party from the college were ferried across to the island, stirringly done to the accompaniment of bagpipe music.
The island had been chosen as a suitable site for the training of priests many centuries ago, and it offered a poignant reminder to the students of the 21st century how important the tradition of a home seminary is. The college community of Scotus celebrated Mass on the site, bringing alive the link between the community of the past and that of the present, united in the Eucharist. The heritage and tradition of the Church, and her task of training men for service as priests, was experienced as sacred and real.
The visit to Eilean Ban was an occasion of great grace for all involved. It allowed the connection with the past to be highlighted, as well as affirming the value and necessity of seminary training in Scotland today. Scotus College may only be ten years old, but this visit made clear that Scotus is part of a far greater tradition, which goes back many, many centuries. The seminarians and staff who today make up the community of Scotus College are indeed continuing the work done in Eilean Ban, as well as that in Scalan, and elsewhere in the country.
Archaeological excavations are soon to begin on the island, and it is hoped that these will shed light on both the seminary and the lifestyle of the seminarians and staff, who served the Church in Scotland from this delightful spot.
For further details contact: Fr. Willie McFadden at Scotus College - 0141 942 8384
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