The Pontifical Scots College in Rome was founded on 5th December 1600 by Pope Clement VIII. It provided an education for young Scottish Catholic men who, due to the laws against Catholics, could not receive a Catholic education at home.
Inspired by St John Ogilvie, the sixteen students studying at the College vowed in 1616 to return to Scotland as priests, one year after the Saint’s martyrdom in Glasgow.
During the centuries that followed, the college sent a steady supply of priests to Scotland, being closed only when the French invaded Rome in 1798 and again during the Second World War. For two hundred years Jesuits and Italian secular clergy directed the College, but since 1800 the Rectors have all been from within the ranks of the secular clergy in Scotland.