St. Joseph Hall Fire

"From These Ashes, May We Rise"

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, a fire broke out in St. Joseph Hall, the oldest and one of the most beloved buildings on campus.  First on the scene responding to the 5:32am alarm were firefighters from Mt. Calvary, WI, the village where St. Lawrence Seminary is located.  After entering the building on the first floor, firefighters encountered heavy smoke, flames, and significant damage to the ceiling above.  Immediately, the decision was to move into a defensive mode to save the Laurentianum (commonly referred to as the Main Building), the building attached to St. Joseph Hall. 

Given the condition of the roof, the desire to save the Laurentianum, and the hope to save the statue of St. Joseph from the north end of the building, a high-hoe vehicle was brought to the scene.  Immediately the middle walls of the building were pushed in to contain the fire.  With the help of many local agencies, the fire was able to be contained within a few hours of the initial alarm.  By 2:12pm, all agencies that had responded to the call had cleared the scene. 

In the 142-year lifespan of the building, St. Joseph Hall had served many purposes for St. Lawrence Seminary High School.  It had been a dormitory, chapel, and infirmary, and served this year as the space for our music rooms, band/choir room, a classroom, spiritual direction offices, business offices, and our student bank.

In addition to the loss of St. Joseph Hall, the Laurentianum suffered residual smoke and water damage.  With the majority of our classrooms located in the Laurentianum, they are currently relocated across campus.  Classes have gone on as normal since the fire, with the exception of the band.  Lost in the fire and destruction were the majority of the band instruments, including several from the music practice rooms.

The response from the community has been overwhelming.  Support has been offered for a variety of efforts – anything from donating instruments to contributing towards the seminary in the hopes to plan to rebuild St. Joseph Hall.  If you would like to donate any instrument or music to our band or choir programs, please email instruments@stlawrence.edu.  If you would like to make a financial contribution to help support the seminary, please visit www.stlawrenceseminary.org/saintjosephhall.

The loss of St. Joseph Hall has reminded us of a simple lesson:  How grateful we are for all of God’s abundant blessings.  We say “Thank You” to all those in the community who have supported us since the fire.  Yes, we look at the pictures of this historic building with sadness in our hearts.  But also, we gaze upon them with love, reminding us of all the invaluable memories we have and treasure of our time with St. Joseph Hall as a part of our community.  From the ashes, may we rise into a new, great chapter, only to add to the storied history, of St. Lawrence Seminary.

 

Again, to donate an instrument or music to the band or choir program, please email instruments@stlawrence.edu.

To make a financial contribution to help support the seminary, please visit www.stlawrenceseminary.org/saintjosephhall.