For those of you who have been reading the Chronicle for the past year, you know this is a modern version of an old tradition. Last year, Lori and JustBob were able to open the locked safe in our basement. Among the treasures hidden there were several ledger books which contained the House Chronicles kept at St. Anthony Friary over a number of years. In honor of our Centennial, Lori decided to resurrect the tradition, and so began our modern House Chronicle.
Fast forward a year. Jackie K. and Marge were perusing these old chronicles for entertainment on an otherwise quiet afternoon. They lamented the fact that these treasures were inaccessible to the greater St. Anthony community. Out of curiosity, Marge leafed through the books to see if there were any entries “on this day in history”. Upon discovering there were indeed glimpses into our history that date back 50 and 70 years, we decided the treasures were too interesting to keep to ourselves.
In 1970, 50 years ago, this place was in the process of transitioning from a school of theology to a Retreat Center. The Chronicle from 1970 contained this report:
July/August – Friars returning and going. The big move is on: Personnel and movable property (books, desks, etc. etc. etc.) on wheels to St. Francis Friary, Milwaukee. As decided by the Provincial and his Counsel, the first three years of theology will be taken by our theologians at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee; the fourth year Theologians go to the Capuchin Theologate at Washington, DC. The newly formed family: Fr. Roger Zach, Guardian, Fr. Peter Hesse, Vicar and economist, Fr. Marion Roessler, Fr. Marius Noe, Fr. William Alcuin, Fr. Carl Pulvermacher, Fr. Gerald McDonald, Fr. Gerald Schmitt, Br. David Tragresser.. . .
Note: Rev. Charles Briggs, a Lutheran minister, formerly pastor at Phillips, Wis., now working with Counseling the Alcoholics on a state level. Resides with us, pays rent. Fits into the community very well. (Puzzle: He is married and has three children, but what about them?). Rev. Briggs, we call him “Charlie”, is a licensed ham radio operator; uses our ham room.
In 1950, 70 years ago this week, we found these two entries:
This morning, Aug. 24th, a Solemn High Mass was offered in celebration of the Twenty-Fifth Wedding Anniversary of frater Leopold’s parents. Since the family was together here at the friary for the ordination, Mr. and Mrs. Gleissner thought it would be best to celebrate here. Before the Mass Fr. Mark gave a little sermon congratulating them and extolling the glories of the married state. Frater Leopold’s two religious sisters were also present, Sister Mary David, S.V.D. and Sister Mary Michael of the Sisters of Christ the King from Calvary.
Fr. Mark left today, Aug. 26th, to conduct a retreat for the senior clergy of the Green Bay Diocese. He will also help conduct the Quinquennial [every five years] Examination at St. Francis Friary on Sept. 1st.
As much as we dislike and resist change, these two entries remind us that St. Anthony’s has a long history and tradition of comings and goings, of change. It also has a tradition of welcome and inclusivity, of celebrating milestones with our family and community, and of service to others. All these experiences challenge us to grow beyond ourselves, to move outside our comfort zones, to learn to see and respect and appreciate the gifts of others.
For the gifts of change, transition, welcome, celebration and service, and all they teach us, we say Deo Gratias!