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St. Francis Seminary

St. Francis Seminary is a seminary for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, located in the Milwaukee suburb of St. Francis, Wisconsin. Its main building, called Henni Hall, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Dedication

The seminary was dedicated to Francis de Sales, seventeenth-century Bishop and saint of the Roman Catholic Church.


Description

The Seminary was founded in 1845 in the home of Archbishop John Henni, two years after the Archdiocese was established in Milwaukee. It is one of the original Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States, and the oldest in continuous existence.

Henni Hall was dedicated on January 29, 1856 after a new location was chosen for the seminary along the south shore of Lake Township. This building was expanded in 1868 and later renovated in 1989. Christ King Chapel within Henni Hall was consecrated in June 1861 by Archbishop Henni. Archbishop Michael Heiss, who served as rector, is buried beneath the chapel.

Over the past 160 years, St. Francis Seminary has graduated over 4,000 priests, and over 400 deacons and lay ministers. The institution is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and offers a broad range of programs, from masters degree level formation to certificates in lay ministry.

Church land accounts for a significant portion of the City of St. Francis. On the grounds of St. Francis Seminary is a large undeveloped area known as the Seminary Woods. It is open to the public and hosts a small cemetery and grotto honoring Our Lady of Lourdes, which is shared with the neighboring Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. Archbishop Frederick Xavier Katzer is also buried here.

Forty-nine tall maple trees line the long road that leads up to St. Francis Seminary. Planted by Austrian immigrant Siegfried Wegerbauer in the 1930s, their canopy now forms cathedral arches shading the path.


Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

The Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto was built by German born Paul Dobberstein while training at the seminary in 1894. During his studies he contracted double pneumonia and promised the Blessed Virgin Mary he would build a grotto in her honor, once he recovered. This monument can be found in the St. Francis Seminary wooded area. It is free for anyone to view.

Standing a mere ten feet tall, this grotto was Dobberstein's first attempt at grotto building. He used the knowledge and skills gained during its construction to build other grottos in Wisconsin and Iowa, including the massive Grotto of the Redemption found in West Bend, Iowa. It is believed to have inspired Mathias Wernerus (who also attended St. Francis Seminary) to build the Dickeyville Grotto in Dickeyville, Wisconsin in 1930 and started the grotto building movement in America.


Notable alumni
  • Dismas Becker - Wisconsin legislator and civil rights activist
  • Fabian Bruskewitz - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lincoln
  • Edward Joseph Dunne - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas
  • Mariano Simon Garriga - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi
  • Augustus F. Gearhard - Deputy Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Air Force
  • Daniel Mary Gorman - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise
  • Francis J. Haas - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids
  • John Joseph Hennessy - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wichita
  • Donald J. Hying - Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee
  • Francis Johannes - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leavenworth
  • Frederick Katzer - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
  • John Jeremiah Lawler - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rapid City
  • Francis Peter Leipzig - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baker
  • Thomas Mathias Lenihan - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne
  • Joseph Patrick Lynch - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas
  • Aloisius Joseph Muench - Cardinal
  • Thomas Lawrence Noa - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette
  • Joseph Perry - Auxiliary Bishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Paul Peter Rhode - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
  • Vincent James Ryan - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bismarck
  • Richard J. Sklba - Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee
  • Paul Francis Tanner - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine
  • John Henry Tihen - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver
  • Charles Daniel White - Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane


Building Activity

  • updated 3 digital references and updated
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • farmer
    farmer updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com