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University of Saint Joseph receives an astounding 25,000-volume library collection

May 17, 2022

Marco Carvalho

In one stroke, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) tripled the number of books on theology, philosophy, Canon Law, Sacred Scriptures, history, art and architecture that it offers its professors and students. The Catholic higher education institution recently got hold of the 25,000-strong library collection that used to belong to the now-shuttered Saint John’s Seminary, located in Wonersh in the south of England.

The British seminary was, until recently, one of the most influential priestly formation centers in the United Kingdom, but the significant fall off in vocations in recent years led to its closure on July 3rd last year. The decision caused alarm in British Catholic circles and its aftershocks were also felt in Macau, with the University of Saint Joseph putting forward an unprecedented request. “St John’s Seminary, Wonersh is close to my home diocese, and when I heard that it was to close, I wrote to the chairman of the board of trustees of the Seminary, Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark, who I have known for many years, and asked him if they had any plans for the library, and if not, would they consider donating it to USJ to support our forming and educating priests, religious and lay people for the work of the Church in this part of the world,” the rector of the University of Saint Joseph, Deacon Stephen Morgan, tells O Clarim.

The remarkable donation made by St. John’s Seminary to Macau’s Catholic university has enlarged USJ’s specialized library of religious and philosophical studies to more than 35,000 volumes. The higher education institution will receive in the coming weeks “a second substantial donation.” The new batch will transform the University into the largest and most up-to-date repository of religious studies in East Asia. “The donation [made by St. John’s Seminary] is extremely important to us. It means that we will have a collection of over 35,000 books covering theology, philosophy, Canon Law, Sacred Scripture, Church history, art and architecture,” Deacon Stephen Morgan asserts. “Together with a further substantial donation of books, currently on the way from the Jesuits of the Northeast Province of the United States of America. This will mean that ours will be the largest and most up-to-date religious studies collection in English in East Asia. English has become very much a lingua franca amongst academics, especially in the field of religious studies and philosophy, and so this will mean that USJ’s library will be a major resource not only for our own students and academic staff, but for scholars from across the region,” the rector of the University of Saint Joseph adds.

Given the nature of the areas covered by the volumes that the University of Saint Joseph recently added to its bibliographic resources, a significant part of the books will be incorporated into the newly-refurbished Faculty of Religious Studies and Philosophy.  However, it will be possible to request any of the volumes in all the facilities belonging to the University of Saint Joseph.

Deacon Stephen Morgan assures us: “Most of the books will go to the newly-refurbished library at the Faculty of Religious Studies and Philosophy at the Seminary of Saint Joseph Campus. Space there is limited, however, and a significant proportion of the books will be in the Main Library at the Ilha Verde Campus. Since we maintain a single library catalogue, making books available to readers in whichever library they need them is no problem,” the rector of the University of Saint Joseph concludes.

(Image: St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, Surrey, UK. Source: Wikipedia, Pjposullivan,  CC BY-SA 3.0)