3 min read

Forming Young Minds

St. Lawrence Seminary offers students not just an education, but a chance to grow spiritually, intellectually, & personally.
Aerial photo of the campus of St. Lawrence Seminary taken in the summer of 2017
Aerial photo of the campus of St. Lawrence Seminary taken in the summer of 2017

St. Lawrence Seminary offers students not just an education, but a chance to grow spiritually, intellectually, & personally.

When Fr. Francis Haas and Fr. Bonaventure Frey arrived at Mount Calvary, Wisconsin in 1856 with the goal of establishing the Capuchin Order in the United States, they could never have imagined what that site would become in the ensuing years. The brothers first built a small friary, followed in 1860 by the Convent Latin School. This marked the humble beginnings of what is known today as St. Lawrence Seminary High School. By the time Fr. Francis and Fr. Bonaventure
died, having lived to see their dream accomplished of founding the Capuchin Order in the United States, St. Lawrence had grown into a renowned and respected educational institution.

St. Lawrence students working in the metal shop.

“For over 160 years, St. Lawrence Seminary High School has provided students from across the United States and around the world, a nurturing environment in which they can grow and mature into well-rounded men of faith, heralds of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, leaders in the Church and society, and perhaps even saints,” said Fr. Zoy Garibay, Rector of St. Lawrence Seminary.

St. Lawrence "started out primarily as a school, but it has evolved over many years," according to Br. Dave Schwab, the Guardian of St. Lawrence Friary. "It's educating students to minister in the Church in some capacity. Obviously, we'd welcome them as brothers or priests, but the reality is that we also want them to be involved in their home parishes. Whatever the role might be, we want them to really be contributing members of the Church." Alumni of St. Lawrence include clergy and religious, as well as lay leaders of the Church.

Photograph of the exterior of the the Laurentianum at St. Lawrence Seminary at dusk.
The Laurentianum at St. Lawrence Seminary

St. Lawrence Seminary provides a well-rounded residential education to be sure, offering a curriculum rich in math, science, history, literature and more, but it also includes courses that are vital for Catholic formation, including theology, Christian morality, and Church history, just to name a few.

Two students work on a science project in the lab

Beyond the classroom, relationships with the friars at St. Lawrence leave a lasting impact on the students as well. Currently there are over 15 friars ministering at St. Lawrence. Students and friars interact regularly throughout the year and meet with them for spiritual direction. These meetings are part of their formation and offer students an avenue to talk about their relationship with God. The process is a sacred sharing in the student’s life. Spiritual directors guide the students in discerning the will of God for them and how God is at work in their lives.

“Sometimes students have things at home that they don’t want to share with people,” says Br. Truong Dinh, a Spiritual Director at St. Lawrence. “As a Capuchin brother living on campus with them, I try to build a trusting relationship so that they know that there is a brother willing to walk with them. I might not solve anything. Yet, at the same time, if they know that they have someone to share things with, they will be more willing to open their heart to God, to others, and to their classmates to build a stronger community.”

Whether it’s through education, relationships, faith formation, or all three of these facets, one thing is certain, throughout its over 160-year history, St. Lawrence Seminary has enshrined itself as an important location for friars and students alike. While the school may boast an impressive 100% college acceptance rate, it is best remembered by the Capuchin brothers as the place where it all began, and for many students as the place where they found new brothers in Christ.

More information at stlawrence.edu.