St. Lawrence Seminary High School celebrates 150 years of education

Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee will be joining the Capuchin friars and dignitaries, alumni and guests to commemorate the founding of the Capuchin Order in the United States and St. Lawrence Seminary.

A liturgy is planned, followed by a banquet, and interactive history program entitled "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," facilitated by Sister Jean Andrew of the School Sisters of the Notre Dame.

To survive over 150 years, the school has expanded to recruit a diverse student body from around the world, which reflects the "emerging church," according to a press release.

"In a very real sense, St. Lawrence Seminary aims at making the world a better place, one student at a time," said Yohanna Rizk, an Egyptian graduate from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Over 9,000 alumni are part of the legacy of St. Lawrence, many who have discerned their individual vocational calls as priests, brothers, deacons and laymen in a wide variety of professions.

The Building Tomorrow's Church celebration is part of the Ignite The Calvary Spirit Circle tour which held its gala kick-off event with over 400 attendees in Milwaukee on April 24. It will continue through 2011 with events in Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit and closing the Sesquicentennial Year on the Hill with a community celebration.

St. Lawrence Seminary High School is the oldest (1860) and largest (200 students) Catholic residential high school for young men in the United States.

This school also had its share of abuse scandal.
In 1992 the Milwaukee Journal published a series of articles alleging the sexual abuse of students by members of the Capuchin Order. In response, the Capuchins commissioned an independent investigation that concluded that nine priests had committed sexual misconduct at the seminary. A civil lawsuit was also filed against the order.

It is good to see that the school have survived(and corrected any misconduct) and the Capuchins can continue to have a presence here, especially considering Venerable Solanus Casey is a native of Wisconsin.


  1. History cannot be re-lived. However, it can be re-written. May SLS never, ever, in any way forget that it was the site of tremendous abuse and destroyed many lives. If the awareness and acknowledgment of this sordid past is not forgotten, perhaps it will not be repeated.

    I am the sister of three brothers who attended SLS during the sex abuse years. Although I love my Catholic faith, I am painfully aware that my brothers suffered deeply trying to be good Catholic teens. I am continually confronted with the brokenness of my brothers who attended SLS during the abuse decades. None of the three who attended are practicing their faith, in fact, one of them has determined there is no God. Alcoholism and dangerous behaviors define their lives.

    My family sacrificed a lot for them to attend SLS. By this I mean that siblings at home ate a lot of beans & rice, took extra jobs, missed our parents who choose to work more in order to keep "the boys" in the school. Yes, the abuse affected my brothers tremendously. None of them have developed healthy relationships - let alone able to do the work it takes to maintain them. A "settlement" of $1,000.00 wasn't nearly enough for the amount of therapy needed.

    I understand that changes have been made. I understand that the school may be good now. But I hope to God it never forgets that those entrusted to their care are created by God and deserve to be safe throughout the years spent "on the hill."

    May the "Caps" never take for granted their responsibility. May they never ignore reports of sin about one of their own. May they take seriously their ministry, holding that work above protecting a sinner. And may they never cease to pray as a community and individuals in that community for the boys turned men who are living in broken, fragmented, pain-filled lives because of their experience at St. Lawrence Seminary.

    And, may


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