June 25th 1562 - The Jesuits in Innsbruck
Tyrol had faithfully remained a Catholic country in the Reformation. Canisius wrote Father General Laínez: 'Tyrol is better Catholic than any other area of the German language. Innsbruck should be a bulwark of the Catholic spirit.' In order to support that request, the Emperor Ferdinand I donated there a Jesuit College . It was opened on June 25th 1562 with a school and developed in the following decades to an academy for philosophy and theology.
From the college which was led by Jesuits up to the abolition of the Order in 1773, arose in the seventeenth century the University of Innsbruck, with the four classical faculties theology, philosophy, law, and medicine. After its dissolution in 1782 the university was re-established 1826 and 1857 the theological faculty. 1934 the relations between Austria and the Vatican were laid down legally binding by a concordat.
After the 'annexation' of Austria to the Deutschen Reich under Hitler, in 1939 the theological faculty was dissolved, but re-established right after the end of the war. The church, which in 1943 had been destroyed by bombs, was built up again, and the heavy damaged buildings of the college renovated.
There arrived soon students from many countries, also from overseas. Innsbruck had and has a world-wide radiation. Important professors lived there: the Tyrolian Joseph Jungmann, the two brothers Hugo and Karl Rahner, the exegete Father Gächter, and other ones. At the opening celebration of the theological faculty after the war on October 6th 1945 the new dean, Father Hugo Rahner, gave a brilliant speech about 'Christian Humanism and Theology'.
Beside many publications, the Archives Father Jungmann has to be mentioned, which is administered by the Institute for Liturgical Science, and the Archives Karl Rahner, which has been entrusted to the Upper German Province and is cared for by Father Neufeld. Father Karl Rahner lectured in Innsbruck for almost 20 years, and spent in the college the last years of his life. He is buried in the crypt of the University Church.