Monsignor J. Gerald Kealy

Monsignor J. Gerald Kealy, D.D.

Rector, 1921-1936

Monsignor J. Gerald Kealy was the founding rector of Mundelein Seminary.  Appointed in 1921, he assumed the leadership of the seminary when George Cardinal Mundelein re-opened the school on its third campus after a suspension of operations in 1868.  While on paper, the University of Saint Mary of the Lake was simply resuming active operations, in fact, Msgr. Kealy was building an institution of higher education from the ground up.

The school opened with schools of philosophy and theology, staffed by the Society of Jesus.  The archdiocesan clergy provided the formation and library staff.  It was always Cardinal Mundelein’s intention for the University to have multiple schools.  In 1926, the University was granted a second charter, this time from the Holy See, for a Pontifical Faculty of Theology.   

Msgr. Kealy hosted the International Eucharistic Congress at the Mundelein campus which achieved the record for the largest movement of people by rail in United States history.

Appointed as pastor of Saint Gertrude Parish in Chicago in 1936 he would continue in the pastoral ministry until his retirement in 1968.  However, his expertise in seminary administration was called upon in 1945 when he assumed the office of Rector of the Pontifical North American College for one year, after which he returned to the pastorate.  He died in 1976 at the age of 83.