Our story begins in 1935...
Gladys Dunne, foundress of the Seminary Tea Committee, invited 22 friends to join her in creating an event to benefit the education of Seminarians who will go on to serve in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.
The first Tea is held onboard the General Lee State steamship, which was docked in Portland, with Archbishop Howard as the invited guest of honor. The ladies submit the proceeds of $350 from that first Tea to the Archbishop.
“The Seminary Tea is expected to be attended by more than 2,000 persons. Princess Gabriella Pacelli, who will be a guest of honor at a benefit ball for Boys Town of Italy in Portland, was received at the White House by Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Princess Pacelli is the wife of the nephew of the late Pope Pius XII. She will also be a guest at the 24th annual Seminary Tea at the home of Archbishop Edward Howard.” ~Catholic Sentinel ~
The Tea celebrates 50 years.
The day before the Tea, a large number of committee members report for “kitchen duty” in parish hall kitchens to prepare tea sandwiches, while others stay home to bake and decorate petite tea cookies. These food items are delivered the following day to the private home Tea House for guests to enjoy.
The Tea this year is hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas J. McCaslin at the historic Elliot R. Corbett House. The Seminary Tea Committee now comprises over 150 women from every parish in the metropolitan area. Over the 69 years the Tea has generated more than $560,000 for the archdiocesan fund for the education of young men studying for the priesthood.
The Seminary Tea Committee celebrates 75 years of continuous activity. Breaking from the tradition of hosting the Tea in a private home, the 75th Annual Archbishop’s Seminary Tea is held at Waverley Country Club.
By 2016, the Tea Committee has contributed more than $1,000,000 to the Seminary Education Fund.
By March of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic was in full swing, and we were unable to hold the Tea in person. Our community still supported the mission of the Tea, and the response to a mailed appeal was outstanding. In 2021 we took the Tea “virtual,” creating a program on Facebook in lieu of the in-person event. Again, our community stepped up to support the mission.
We return in-person for the 87th Tea, coming together at Portland Golf Club–just like old times!