In researching the school history, we were unable to find proof that the school offered extra-curricular activities for its students. One would believe that St. Joseph’s could have offered intramural sports for the all-male student body, along with other clubs. We are hopeful that an alumnus can tell us more about their experiences at the school, and fill us with details at the addresses given below.
From Doug Dreher:
“I was viewing the page associated with the above title and noticed that the school colors and nickname were marked as “unknown.” I attended this seminary from 1966 to 1970. The school colors were blue and gold. The school nickname was the “Lakers” because of the 3 lakes that existed on the property.”
From Michael Lorch:
“My name is Michael Lorch. I attended St Joe’s from 1970 through 1975. While there I worked on the farm with Brothers Art, Rock, Pat and Damien. After graduation I continued to help out on the farm until 1977.”
From former student Ned Hoedebecke:
“I had the privilege to grow up in Teutopolis, IL and attend St Joseph’s Seminary at Westmont, Il from 1962-63. During my one year at Westmont, my great uncle, Father Fabian Merz, PFM, was the head of the seminary. We did play sports against local schools, but because we were cloistered (not allowed off the school ground during the entire semester), the local school teams came to us.
“I remember basketball and baseball were played, but don’t recall any other sport played with local schools. Internally, because of the 3 large lakes we were able to play intramural ice hockey when the lakes froze hard enough. It was a tough transition to take a small-town boy/farm kid, who was used to being outdoors and free to go where he wanted, and cloister him for an entire school year.
“The seminary life was very strict. Our bedroom was very large and had over 100 boys sleeping in the same room. I was 6’3” tall but my bed was a 6′ old metal frame with a very saggy spring center and thin mattress. We couldn’t talk except after a bell was rung during meal times and during exercise time. We went to daily Mass in the morning and another couple chapel times during the day.
“Of course we had class in the morning and afternoon and could talk to the teacher. In my freshman year, among other classes, I took three languages: English, Latin and Greek. Even though I determined that it wasn’t my vocation to become a priest, it was a unique experience for me and taught me many lessons for life.”
From Lee Baumgart:
I was a student during the 1972-73 school year. We played soccer and travelled to different schools as well as them coming here. I also remember the three lakes and ice hockey games. The guys from the bigger cities gave us a bad time about figure skates to play hockey…they wore the real thing.
I think I was the first one to do ice fishing on the lakes. We’d get an axe from the tool shed which Fr. Ambrose German maintained. He was from my hometown (Humphrey, NE) and a classmate of my mom’s, so it didn’t take too much talking to get tools. I had a supply of wax worms from my dad to use as bait. Our language classes consisted of Spanish and German.”
from Fr. Joseph “Ted” Havrilka (1975 graduate, submitted 10/11/2018):
“I attended St. Joseph Franciscan Seminary from 1971-75, The magnificent chapel, built in the Tudor Gothic style, was over three stories high. The windows on either side of the name depicted symbols of the Litany of Loretto with the corresponding Latin invocations.
“The clerestory windows were perhaps 6-8 feet tall and depicted the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The rose window in the choir loft depicted the Six Joys of St. Joseph. The windows in the Friar’s Choir, directly right of the sanctuary, had tall narrow windows depicting angels playing various musical instruments and singing.
“The impressive tower (in the photo at the top of the page), stood directly over the sanctuary and altar. The four corners depicted the Four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and a large image of the Holy Spirit was in the center, which could be backlit at night.
“To the left of nave – in one of the little “chapels” with side altars where priests said the daily Masses in the pre-Vatican II days – was a special altar that housed the complete relics of a Roman boy martyr named Saint Innocent. The relics consisted of whose skull was encased in wax, sculpted with his features. His hands and feet were covered with gilded mesh/gauze, and there was a large vial of his dried blood in the gold and glass case. The relics could be lit and there was a heavy red curtain that could be used to conceal the entire display.
“The larger organ, a 1928 Moeller, was in the choir loft. The smaller organ, a 1940’s Wicks Fuga Model, was in one of the small chapels to the left of the nave (it had been brought from the former St. Anthony Hospital in south St. Louis when the hospital relocated).
“Of note were two large angels holding electric light trees on either side of then high altar. In our day, the lights would be turned on right before the celebration of Mass to signal the beginning of the Professional Hymn or Exposition Hymn for Benediction.
“The statues of Mary and Joseph were wooden-carved with gold leaf trim. Mary was depicted as the “Virgin of the Apocolypse” and Joseph as “St. Joseph the Worker.” Those statues now grace the interior of St. Anthony’s Church in Quincy, IL, which used to be served by the same Province of Franciscan Friars who staffed our high school seminary.”
WE’RE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION….
about the history of St. Joseph Minor Seminary, whether it be in Teutopolis or Westmont. Please contact us at email@example.com or you can send your information thru the U.S. Postal Service to the following address:
Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL 60631