Maryvale - History and Heritage
Maryvale steeped in history.
The site of Maryvale has been in Catholic occupation since the Middle Ages. Formerly 'Oscott House', it came to the Church in 1702 at the bequest of Father Andrew Bromwich who had inherited this property from his family. From 1794 to 1838 it was the home of Oscott College, the first Seminary to open in England after the reformation. During this time the historic Chapel of the Sacred Heart was inaugurated.
In 1846 after the removal of the college to the larger purpose-built premises three miles away, John Henry Newman and his community who had recently been received into the Church were granted the former seminary as a house of retreat and study. It was Newman and his followers who gave it the name 'Maryvale' after St Philip Neri's church in Rome, and it is specified in the Papal Brief as the location of the first English Oratory of St Philip in 1848. The following year saw Maryvale become the Novitiate of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and it was visited by St Eugene of Mazenod. During much of this period the Chapel also functioned as a local parish church.
From 1851-1980 the Sisters of Mercy ran an orphanage and established a school for poor children. In 1980 it became a catechetical centre for the archdiocese of Birmingham and the present Catholic college for theology and catechesis developed out
of the Adult Centre for Catechetics opened by Bishop Dwyer in 1980.
A convent for Bridgettine sisters was built in the grounds in 1999. The sisters’ special concerns are for hospitality and ecumenism, and the community have a regular pattern of worship in the Chapel.