Cardinal Muench Seminary, located in Fargo, North Dakota, was established in 1962 as a Catholic institution of higher education dedicated to the pursuit of truth with a view to the formation of future priests. It is a regional college seminary administered by the Diocese of Fargo.
Cardinal Muench Seminary seeks to form young men in the image of Christ the Good Shepherd and provides the necessary formation for seminarians on the college level in addition to the pre-theology requirements. By emphasizing the liberal arts and especially the tradition of perennial philosophy, Cardinal Muench Seminary seeks to impart a well-rounded university education which will serve as a solid foundation for the future study of theology. Founded in a conviction of the unity and beauty of truth, Cardinal Muench Seminary strives to form future priests in an atmosphere where faith and reason are fully engaged in a harmonious way.
Cardinal Muench Seminary is named after Aloisius Joseph Cardinal Muench, bishop of the Fargo Diocese from 1935 to 1959. While serving as bishop, Cardinal Muench voiced a dream to begin a seminary for the training of priests. In 1946 following World War II, Cardinal Muench was called to Europe by the Pope Pius XII to be the Apostolic Visitator during the reconstruction of Germany. He was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in 1951, and was named a Cardinal by Pope John XXIII in 1959. He died in Rome on February 15, 1962.
Cardinal Muench’s dream of establishing a seminary was fulfilled by his successor, Most Rev. Leo F. Dworschak. After a devastating tornado in 1957, Bishop Dworschak requested the vacated Sacred Heart Convent on north Broadway in Fargo to be restored as a high school seminary. It opened in the fall of 1962 and operated at this location through the spring of 1966.
In the fall of 1966, the seminary moved into a newly contructed building in north Fargo, the current location for Cardinal Muench Seminary. Cardinal Muench Seminary is located on an approximately 80 acre campus about ten minutes from North Dakota State University. Bishop Leo F. Dworschak dedicated the building on August 22, 1966. Classes for both high school and college students began in fall of that same year.
An agreement had been reached between the seminary and North Dakota State University with the North Dakota Board of Higher Education by which CMS university students could matriculate at NDSU. The seminary provides Philosophy, Humanities and Classics instructors to the University.
Hundreds of students have studied at Cardinal Muench Seminary during the past four decades and many of them have been ordained priests. The high school seminary was closed in 2002. The number of college seminarians remains steady into the 21st century. Over 90 men who attended Cardinal Muench Seminary have gone on to complete their studies in major seminary and have been ordained priests.