Sacred Heart School of Theology is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, a religious community which has its United States headquarters in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. The seminary began because Venerable Leo John Dehon, SCJ, a French priest and the founder of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, valued education, had a passion for the priesthood and was committed to social justice. Between 1910, when Fr. Dehon first visited the United States, and 1932 a dedicated band of men filled with vision and courage laid the foundation for the Sacred Heart School of Theology. The seminary program was established at Sacred Heart Monastery in 1932 with the introduction of philosophy and theology courses for the seminarians who were members of the religious community. In 1955, the philosophy program was moved elsewhere, and the seminary was dedicated exclusively to the theological preparation of men for priesthood.
Construction of a new building across the street was completed in 1968. In 1972 the name of the school was changed to Sacred Heart School of Theology. This signified the beginning of a change in the character of the school. Prior to 1970, the school exclusively served as the theological seminary for the Priests of the Sacred Heart. That year the seminary began accepting older second-career candidates for the priesthood from other religious communities. The program was called the Center for Adult Religious Vocations (CARV). In 1973, Sacred Heart received approval to accept second-career candidates sponsored by dioceses throughout the country.
The program received initial accreditation by The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada in 1972 and has received reaccreditation continuously since. In 1995, the Higher Learning Commission: a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the program and renewed that accreditation in 1999.
Sacred Heart awards a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Arts in theology degree. The seminary is governed by a board of directors that includes bishops, religious and diocesan priests, women religious and laity. Its faculty is diverse and includes priests from a variety of dioceses, archdioceses and religious communities as well as women religious and laity.
Sacred Heart School of Theology is located on 80 acres of wooded land just 90 miles north of Chicago in the western part of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. Most major Milwaukee attractions can be reached within 30 minutes.