Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, May 4, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Nation and World
Blaze destroys historic buildings at Wisconsin Catholic high school seminary
Catholic News Service photo
Capuchin Father Dennis Druggan, rector of St. Lawrence High School Seminary in Mount Calvary, Wis., celebrates a Palm Sunday Mass in 2009.
Catholic News Service photo
Capuchin Father Dennis Druggan, rector of St. Lawrence High School Seminary in Mount Calvary, Wis., celebrates a Palm Sunday Mass in 2009.
Catholic News Service

MOUNT CALVARY, Wis. — An early morning fire March 8 in the Milwaukee Archdiocese destroyed historic buildings at St. Lawrence High School Seminary in Mount Calvary, one of the few remaining high school seminaries in the country.

No one was injured in the five-alarm blaze that leveled the seminary's original chapel and the adjoining St. Joseph Hall, both built in 1873 atop a tall hill overlooking a region known as the Holy Land east of Fond du Lac.

Firefighters from 41 agencies in Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Winnebago and Calumet counties responded to the fire shortly after daybreak.

"We received a call at 5:30 a.m. of smoke in the building. Responding firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the building," said Mount Calvary Fire Chief Mark Petrie. "Our firefighters entered the building only to find heavy fire, so we backed out and went into a defensive mode."

Petrie said firefighters successfully focused on saving the adjacent Laurentianum building, which houses the school's administrative offices and is connected to the destroyed buildings by a brick-encased elevator shaft.

He said no cause had been determined yet for the fire, but it most likely started on the first floor near the elevator.

The construction of the buildings, which included hard-to-reach pockets of space created during earlier remodeling projects, and the sheer height of the building perched on top of the hill posed challenges for firefighters, Petrie explained.

Firefighters contained the flames after two hours, but spent all morning fighting small fires in tight spots necessitating demolition of parts of the buildings not destroyed by fire.

The blaze hit as 40 band students from the seminary were less than two hours from leaving for a solo and ensemble contest in nearby Kohler.

St. Joseph Hall contained the school's band and choir departments.

"These kids had been practicing their solos and ensembles for weeks, but we had to pull out of the contest because they couldn't get their instruments or music," Capuchin Franciscan Father John Holly, rector and president, told the Catholic Herald, a publication that serves the Catholic community in southeastern Wisconsin.

Freshman Ben Triplett of Annandale, Minn., had no choice but to stand and watch his dreams of winning an award, and his tenor saxophone, go up in flames.

"That was my own saxophone. I owned it," said Triplett, who plays in the band and jazz band. "I just can't believe something like this happened here. We woke up to sirens, looked out our windows and yelled, 'Guys. That building is on fire.'"

In addition to the school's music program, St. Joseph Hall also housed religion classrooms and faculty offices.

As firefighters methodically tore down still-burning St. Joseph Hall, with help from a large excavator, Father Bob Wheelock, who uses a walker to get around campus, turned his walker and sat dejectedly on an attached seat watching the scene of destruction.

"That excavator is parked right on top of what was my office," said the priest, who is a spiritual adviser to the school's 178 male students. "I've lost everything, all my notes and a Bible that probably represents 35 to 40 years a biblical studying with everything underlined. Now it's all gone. It's quite a jolt."

This isn't the first time a destructive fire hit the St. Lawrence campus.

Capuchin friars started the Convent Latin School at Mount Calvary in 1860 and founded St. Lawrence Seminary in 1882.

On Christmas Day in 1868, a fire destroyed the friars' monastery. The fire hit during a typhoid fever epidemic among the seminary students.

Students were allowed to stay in a newly-constructed brick building at the Mount Carmel Convent, operated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame a short distance from the seminary.

The convent closed in 2013 after 160 years, a blow to this small farming community that now must deal with another historic loss.

"Historically, these are buildings that have served us well," Father Holly said. "They've had a number of incarnations over their 141-year existence."

"It's a great loss. The buildings were very much in use seven days a week," he said. "But we'll make other arrangements for our classes and figure out what to do in the future -- to rebuild or whatever. We'll be all right."

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved