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Who We Are...

About the SASAA



      For more than 90 years, the Franciscans fostered the creation of community at St. Anthony’s Seminary.  From its roots at Old Mission Santa Barbara in 1896, until its final senior graduation in 1987, about 4000 students passed through the halls of St. Anthony’s.  Some stayed for only a few months while others stayed until they graduated; but all were taught about the life and the love of Saint Francis of Assisi. 

sites/default/files/resize/images/sas-Fr-Finbar-80x105.jpg    Fr. Finbar Kenneally, OFM, arrived at St. Anthony’s in 1978 at the age of 79.  After an illustrious career as a teacher, writer, historian, and counselor, he became interested in preserving and extending the community of brotherhood that had its roots at SAS.  As a result, he founded the St. Anthony’s Seminary Alumni Association (SASAA) in 1986, and hosted the first "All-Class Reunion" that summer, which he planned to do every summer thereafter.  The association's original name was "The Association of Former Students of St. Anthony's Seminary"  because Fr. Finbar’s vision was to make it  all-inclusive: anyone and everyone who ever attended Saint Anthony’s Seminary, for any period of time, would be welcomed by the association.    That tradition continues to this day.

     Those who attended the first year’s reunion in 1986 really appreciated the inclusive nature of Fr. Finbar’s hospitality.  From that time on, there has been an alumni reunion every year, usually during the month of July.  It has become a time of remembering, sharing, and renewal. (See photos of many of the reunions, including the original one, on this website.) The association also publishes a quarterly newsletter to help keep everyone informed of association events, such as the upcoming annual reunion.  And, the SASAA's membership has volunteered for various service projects around the campus over the years.   

    Before his death in December of 1991, Fr. Finbar asked Fr. Alberic Smith, OFM (SAS Class of '51 graduate, and former SAS teacher and administrator), to continue sponsoring the alumni association. Fr. Alberic was happy to do so. After each reunion, Fr. Alberic had a renewed understanding that the alumni really appreciated having  this special gathering every year.   Then, in the summer of 2006,  Fr. Alberic was re-assigned from Santa Barbara Mission  to Spokane, Washington; and, after 15 years of leadership, he passed the administration of the association from the friars to the lay-alumni. At the 2007 reunion, the transition was complete, and the lay-alumni are now overseeing the preservation of the association.  The reunions continue, and old friendships are still being renewed.

     “I know I speak for many alumni when I say that we are all looking forward to many more years of sharing memories and brotherhood through the SAS Alumni Association's Reunions.  I would like to thank Fr. Finbar for starting the alumni association for the benefit of us all.” Spoken by Fr. Alberic Smith, OFM on November 22, 2006.      Fr. Alberic passed away on May 31, 2016 at the age of 84.   May he rest in peace.


St. Anthony of Padua