‘In 1900 the six seminarians then studying at St Xavier’s were moved to Kandy and the Bombay Seminary was closed for the second time in its long and tortuous history.’ – Ratus, 1986
How did the seminary fare at Kandy? What was life like for the Bombay boys? We get a fair glimpse of this period through the seminary life of H.E. Valerian Cardinal Gracias narrated by his best friend and companion, later Archbishop Leonard Raymond. Here are a few excerpts:
The Bishop-elect and I have been classmates for a well high seven years, first at Kandy and then at Rome…Few realize that it was really Archbishop Goodier…who decided to send Valerian Gracias to Kandy Seminary in 1923, though through several months of 1922 the latter was convalescing after a severe bout of typhoid. He entered the Theology course with a grave physical handicap but it hardly slackened his stride.
Within a few months he showed his mettle at one of our usual “circles”…by his thorough grasp of the fluent Latin. Fr. Gryffroy who presided, one of the ablest professors Kandy Seminary had ever been blessed with, was obviously delighted: here was a new comer after his own heart, and he communicated his joy to the whole Seminary faculty.
…towards the middle of 1926…Fr. (now Bishop) Willekens, announced that the Seminary had been empowered to grant the Doctorate in Theology, and that those who had taken a first class for six successive years would be eligible for it. Thus entitled to appear for the exam, Father Gracias took his doctorate early in 1927, once again cum magna laude.