Mount Saint Michael (commonly known as “The Mount”) is a former seminary, school, farm, and retreat for the Jesuit order of the Roman Catholic Church in Spokane, Washington, which is also the location of our Spokane Pest Control firm. The Society of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), a Sedevacantist Catholic religious congregation, later purchased it. Traditionalist Catholics who reject the validity of any pope since John XXIII are known as sedevacantists.
It houses Saint Michael’s Academy and acts as a parish center for Sedevacantists in the Spokane region. It is staffed by the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen priests, brothers, and sisters. The main structure serves as the sisters’ motherhouse. A second building on the land houses the priests’ and brothers’ rectory.
The National Park Service has classified Mount Saint Michael on the National Register of Historic Places.
Father Joseph Caruana founded St. Michael’s as a Jesuit mission north of Spokane in the mid-19th century. Caruana’s successor, Father Joseph Cataldo, bought nearly 1,000 acres at $2 per acre in 1878 and moved the mission. From 1881 to 1915, Mount St. Michael was a farm that fed now-Gonzaga University.
The construction of a school to accommodate the increasing number of Jesuit vocations began in the spring of 1915 for $400,000. Father Arthuis, who had just finished the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church at Gonzaga, oversaw construction. He created an 1100-foot-long railroad to transport building materials up the 320-foot bluff. The Tudor-Gothic “T”-shaped building featured a chapel, dining room, kitchen, gym, physics and chemical labs, lecture rooms, and dormitories.
The Order of the Jesuits
In the 1920s, a Jesuit brother built Our Lady of Lourdes a grotto. The outdoor chapel hosts Mass and is a favorite Rosary site. The west wing’s construction began in 1929. The new wing housed 100 students and the library. In 1930, seismologists moved a seismometer from Gonzaga University to Mount St. Michael’s basement lab. Mount St. Michael became a major seismograph soon.
The seminary’s 700-acre farm fed everyone at the time. Jesuit brothers, farmers, tailors, bakers, cobblers, beekeepers, and horticulturists watched over the community’s material needs and candidates. It was one of the best Jesuit study homes.
Mount St. Michael, a Jesuit scholasticate, dissolved in 1968 because of a decline in vocations. Over the next decade, Mount St. Michael was a retirement residence for retired Jesuit priests and an ecumenical prayer and retreat facility.
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