Maryknoll College

Maryknoll College  

Formerly located at: Roosevelt Road, SE of Hwy 53

Glen Ellyn , IL 60137  


History: Maryknoll College opened in 1949 on a rolling, wooded 128.5-acre campus housing 120 to 150 young men. At its height, the 450,000 sq. ft. complex served more than 500 Catholic seminary students. It operated for nearly 23 years until graduating its last class of 30 in 1971 and closing its doors in 1972. But the prominent edifice remained as a stately beacon to travelers approaching Glen Ellyn on Roosevelt Road. In 1974, plans were drawn up, and the property was converted into a law school for Lewis University. Eventually, since the law school used only 10% of the property, costs to maintain the structure overran funds to run it. The law school moved, and Maryknoll was again abandoned. Later, in 1986, an ambitious plan by Elder Care Services in Boston to turn the property into a senior citizen's retirement village failed outright. The entire building complex was razed in July of 2000 but not before I got a first-hand look at the building with reporters from the Glen Ellyn News.

It was terribly vandalized with graffiti, devilish and satanic words scrawled on the walls and it harbored many different types of vermin.


The GRS was the only group ever officially allowed permission to enter and investigate Maryknoll College in July 2000!


Picture of the photography lab where the phantom priest was said to pinch students.

Hauntings: Except for sporadic training of local area police dogs for building searches, the deteriorating complex sat empty. And some old ghost stories began circulating. Parapsychologist Hans Holzer tells of "The Seminary Ghost" in his 1993 book, Haunted America. Among the reported sightings was that of a dead priest, who had once been in charge of the darkroom. At the time he appeared, there were unexplained temperature drops in the photographic chemicals. Students in the 1970s frequently report run-ins with a phantom priest who would gently touch their cheeks and then vanish suddenly. Father Rafael Davilla, Maryknoll's spiritual director in Houston, Texas and was a student of the seminary from 1949-53 and a priest from 1960-69 refuted any speculations of ever performing an exorcism in the medicine room. Davilla, who admittedly says his memory is not that of a younger man, does not dismiss student's accounts of the room being haunted.  

Here is maybe the only known video ever shot inside Maryknoll College in July of 2000 with reporters from the Glen Ellyn News and security personnel. The room with the stainless tables is the photography lab where the phantom priest was said to reside.

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