St. Lawrence Seminary History

History of SLS

On October 15, 1856, two Swiss diocesan priests, Fr. Francis Haas and Fr. Bonaventure Frey, arrived in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin. They had come from Switzerland for the purpose of establishing the Capuchin Order in the United States. They began building a small friary and convinced the Swiss Province of Capuchins to send two Capuchins from Switzerland to join them in Mount Calvary. Fr. Francis and Fr. Bonaventure also entered the Capuchin Order at this time.

In 1860, the Convent Latin School was opened as part of the friary. Four students enrolled. Tuition, room and board was $10 for the year. This event marks the beginning of Saint Lawrence Seminary. In the fall of 1862, 15 students were enrolled, and 20 students began the following school year. A college wing was added to the friary in 1864, while enrollment climbed to 49 students. Yet another college wing was added in 1867.

The friary and college now formed a quadrangle with a courtyard in the center. The 1868 school year opened with 28 Capuchin friars and 42 students in the newly-completed friary and college.

Tragedy struck on Christmas night of 1868. A fire started in the sacristy and burned the entire complex to the ground, with the exception of part of the parish church. Almost miraculously, the school re-opened the following fall in a completely rebuilt friary and college. It was called the Little Seminary of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi. In 1872, another college building, Saint Joseph Hall, was erected. In 1881, the Laurentianum, the current main building, was built to include ample classroom space.

By the time Fr. Francis died in 1895, having lived to see his dream of founding the Capuchin Order in the United States, Saint Lawrence College was a respected educational institution. Fr. Bonaventure was present at the fiftieth anniversary of the Capuchin foundation in the United States at Mount Calvary. When he died in 1912, his beloved St. Lawrence College was firmly established as a major educational institution in the Midwestern United States. Both men had lived long enough to see their hard work flourish into the beginnings of a great institution: St. Lawrence Seminary High School.

School Mascot

St. Lawrence Seminary High School's co-curricular teams are known as “The Hilltoppers.” The mascot is inspired by the Swiss origins of our Founders and the beautiful hill of Mount Calvary on which St. Lawrence is located. The Hilltopper exemplifies the goal of our co-curricular teams to always strive to reach the top, to be the very best, all the while recognizing that the summit of a mountain is rarely reached alone.

Our school colors are brown and gold. The brown represents the color of the Capuchin habit and gold is the color on the flag of the Catholic Church.

School Seal

The phrase “Celsitudo ex humilitate” is the motto of St. Lawrence Seminary. The phrase has been used to describe St. Lawrence of Brindisi, our patron saint. “Celsitudo ex humilitate” can literally be translated as, “To the heavens from the humility” or, more poetically, “To the heights out of our depths.”

The year of our school’s establishment, 1860, is set in the hill, which is topped by the cross of St. Lawrence of Brindisi.

Crossed palm branches are symbolic of peace and victory, attributes of St. Lawrence’s life as a papal emissary. A braided rope, representative of that worn by Capuchin Friars, surrounds the entire seal.

Alma Mater

Raised atop a lofty hillside, arched against the blue.
Stands our noble Alma Mater, glorious to view.

Love her Spirit, hold it ever,
let our lives profess, “We are loyal Sons of Calv’ry, ‘Hill of Happiness’.”

Though sweet memories are shadow’d of our joyous past.
Beams shall linger of her portals, cherished to the last.

Love her Spirit, hold it ever,
let our lives profess, “We are loyal Sons of Calv’ry, ‘Hill of Happiness’."

(Seniors) Though approaching graduation, bids us all farewell.
We shall never be parted while fond mem’ries dwell.

Love her Spirit, hold it ever,
let our lives profess, “We are loyal Sons of Calv’ry, ‘Hill of Happiness’."

Midst her walls still echo, footsteps guided to their aim.
All who tread her halls so stately ever love her name.

Love her Spirit, hold it ever,
let our lives profess, “We are loyal Sons of Calv’ry, ‘Hill of Happiness’."

Hear Alma Mater

Fight Song

Get out and Fight! We’re one and all behind you!
With all our Might! We’re here to see you through!
It’s Victory for S.L.S.! As two-hundred strong we’re pulling mightily!
And if we Win, we’ll raise the Brown and Gold, men!
And if we lose, we’ll do the same!
To show the world that we’re from Calv’ry!
Get Right in, Fight to Win this Game!

Hear our Fight Song

School Song

Laurentianum, our Alma Mater,
Banner of brown and gold,
We go to the fray.
Forward ye loyal sons,
To fight for Victory.We'll let our praise re-echo,
We'll win today.
Laurentianum, our Alma Mater,
Banner of brown and gold,
We go to the fray.
Forward ye loyal sons,
To fight for Victory.
We'll let our praise re-echo,
We'll win today.

Hear our School Song