In 1961 the construction of permanent buildings started in earnest under the supervision of Br. Henry. Brother Henry was nickname Br. “Otwo’’ because of two reasons; - first he was a thin man, and secondly he rarely accepted opinions which were contrary to his. Nevertheless he was a very hard working man. He was assisted by Fr. Kaisar who was also teaching biology. Among those who worked on the construction were Ochola Pharisis, Christopher Omega from Kakamega and Jabuya Mwai as masons: Obiri supplied the sand and the roofing was done by Nyangoya and Onyango Barruck. Opiyo Daudi worked as the foreman while Peter Ondeyo was the driver of the Seminary Bedford truck. During this period the school had no water and students had to go to river Kichuri and Kuja. The adventurous ones went to the extent of swimming in the rivers. The head student was called the “D.C” (District Commissioner). The rest of the prefects were called the “D.O.s’’ and the class monitors the “Chiefs”. They never had end term holidays apart from December. They would spend their holidays at either Asumbi or Nyabururu Mission. In 1961 the Seminary reached another milestone when a borehole was dug and piped water installed. In 1964 the first students were admitted in form one class. They were Arigo Phillip, Bosire John, Chacha Sagas, Mauncho Simeon, Neko Peter, Nyabwari Chrisantus, Oirere John, Osongo Thaddeus and Osore Paul. By 1965 the constructions was almost complete. The permanent buildings formed a rectangle making Rakwaro one of the most beautiful institutions of learning in the country. The trees that line up the lanes added to the aesthetic beauty of the compound.

In 1965 Fr. Wolf invited the Christians to celebrate the completion of the construction. A few weeks later on December 1965 when he was working around the compound the power generator abruptly went off. He slipped on the stairs and fell as he went to check on the commotion on the compound. He suffered a dislocation and a multiple fracture. He was flown back to Holland and never came back. He later died at home but the seed he had planted had blossomed and borne fruits. The number of priests and Bishops who have passed through the Seminary can attest to it. Fr Wolf was replaced by Fr. Francis Wessels who stayed up to 1967 when he was replaced by Fr. Cyril Wandera, the first African Rector. Despite the loss of the founding father, the Seminary maintained a high level of academic excellence and discipline. In 1969 Bishop Tiberius Mugendi replaced Bishop Maurice Otunga as the Bishop of Kisii Diocese. He continued giving spiritual guidance to the boys. Some of Father Wolf’s enduring achievements were the introduction of the Seminary band, a very active boy scout and a strong football team which was feared throughout the province.

In 1970 Fr. Okwachi replaced Fr. Wandera as the Rector. This was the year when the first form fours sat for their National examinations. It is better to note that Fr.Okwachi first taught in the Seminary from 1958 to 1961. He was the first African priest to do so. He was also the football coach. Other teachers joined the staff, and among them were: John Smith, Br. John Philip teaching Maths, Fr. Little Wood teaching English, Br. Pircado, Br. Kays introduced French, Br. Ponsionnius was in charge of infirmary and Br. “Abundo”. In1971 Ojuok, Okuba and Ochieng Clemens joined the subordinate staff. Many of Fr. Okwachi’s students remember him for the worke he did in leveling the football pitch on the western end of the school. When the beetles were drilling holes in the timber used in the roofing, the Rector gave out 30 cents for every beetle killed. “Operation beetles dead” started unabated. It is rumoured that those students who came from around had ways of smuggling in dead beetle to earn a few more cents. The school had both primary and secondary section. In 1973 a pastoral year was introduced for all students who complete form two before they proceeded to form three but was later abandoned.

In 1974 William Rawlinson replaced Fr. Okwachi. During this time other priest like Fr. Leo and Edmund Fond had joined the Seminary. Brother Fons, a Mill Hill joined the staff as the bursar. Edmund Fond was the one who introduced the Grade cows. The local breed was given out to Okeyo and Nyanjanga. This earned Fr. Ford the name Japuodho meaning the farmer. In 1975 Fr. William was replaced by Fr. John Onkanga who stayed briefly and in 1976 replaced Fr. Okwachi as Rector. In 1980 brother Bischof a Mill Hill Missionary replaced brother Fond the bursar while Fond moved to Mill Hill headquarter Nairobi as procurator. In 1982 another tragedy struck the Seminary. Fr. Ford died. A new chapel was built in his memory and the old one turned into the recreation hall. In 1991 brother Antony joined the Seminary. Fr. Okwachi stayed on until 1991. The number of lay teachers started to outstrip that of the clergy. Among those who taught during this time were; - Fr. Lesso, Fr. Basil, Fr. Odero, Bishop Mairura, Fr. Chuma, Mr. Obonyo, Mr. Isabirye, Mr. Semakula, James Nkwasibwe, Ojuok, Omae, Francis Kamwada, John Outa and Oscar Kambona.

In 1992 Fr. Cosmas Rhagot replaced Fr. Okwachi as the Rector. A reputed disciplinarian, his contribution to the positive change of the Seminary reverberated up to today. He introduced the black uniform.

In 1993 Fr. George Okoth took over from Father Rhagot. Fr. Ogallo, Fr. Menge and later Fr. Omari joined the staff. Elijah Okiaga, Michael Mukobe, Lamek, Steven Biko, Francis Gidudu, Draga Lou, Francis Chemutai, Obiero and Opere were part of the lay staff. Sweaters and ties were introduced as part of the uniform. Two more staff houses were built. A believer in perfection Fr. George built on what Fr. Cosmas had restarted. Rakwaro once again started excelling in the national examination by being among the top hundred schools. This culminated in Rakwaro being number 15 (fifteen) overall nationally and number 1 (one) in Nyanza during the 1997 KCSE Exams.

In September Fr. Basil took over from Fr. George. He continued the sowing of the mustard seed. Mr. Joseph Wasonga, Paul Ochora, Peter Wao, John Angasa and Julias Okemwa were part of the teaching staff. On 29th January 2001, Fr. Basil fell sick and was admitted at St. Paul’s Mission Hospital at Homa- bay. Three days later his condition worsened and was transferred to Tabaka Mission Hospital where he passed on, on 3rd February 2001. There is no amount of words that can describe the magnitude and depth of sorrow and grief that engulfed the Seminary and its environment. It was as if the Seminary community had witnessed death for the first time in living memory. There were prayers intermingled with traditional mourning rituals. The traditional “Oporo” rent the air for one week amidst sobbing and ululation from the women. On 11th February he was laid to rest after a requiem mass concelebrated by Bishops Mairura and Okok. May his soul rest in peace (RIP)

Fr. Joachim Ogallo took over assisted by Fr. Kizito and Fr. Kawaka and Fr. Omari others who joined were; - Mr. Okumu, Ong’ng’a Olambla, Ayiera’ Abuto, Obwaya, Arunda, Sammy Asigo, Oduol, Onyoni and Oduya. He introduced a double stream to help alleviate the financial problem of the Seminary. His dedication to his work and love for sports is still remembered to date. In 2003 he was replaced by Father Lesso. A dedicated teacher, an astute disciplinarian, tireless formator and a very compassionate priest. Old is Gold, the saying goes. Fr. Lesso successfully managed the restructuring and streamlining of the Seminary. His leadership portfolio is beyond reproach albeit the September 2003 student strike which sent the form four, three and part of form twos summary home. It was a time for soul searching and one of the most trying moments in the history y of the seminary. A malignant cancer needs a surgeon. He brought in new blood in the persons of Onayo, Omollo, Ms. Ogao, Oongo, Siriba, Okoyo to achieve that dream.

In January 2009 Fr. Francis was replaced by Fr. Robert Olima as the Rector. He worked tirelessly with the teaching staff and the other members of the non-teaching staff for five years upto the end of 2013.

In December 1st 2013, the current Rector, Fr. George Ochola, replaced Fr. Olima. This is his second year as the Rector of the Seminary. He is also a teacher by profession having graduated from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in 2011 and holds a Bachelor of Education degree. With the dedicated staff, the sky is the limit.

The St. John's Seminary Experience

Admission to the Seminary

Admission to the Seminary

Aspiring to join St. John's Seminary Rakwaro? Here is what you need to know, the requirements by the individual and from your Parish.

Academics at the Seminary

Academics at the Seminary

The lifestyle of St. John's Seminary Rakwaro is different from your ordinary high school. Get insights into the student life, academis and extracurricular activities.