November 2008

Question:

Dear Abbot Pennings,

How ‘old’ is Old St. Joe’s?

Maribeth Frinzi ’05

Answer:

What a great question, Maribeth. There is much history to note regarding Old St. Joe’s.

It was in 1676 that Father Charles Albanel built the first structure for worship at the current site of the church.

Two hundred years later, French Canadian settlers working in the area lumber mills decided to establish a parish in De Pere. A new church building was dedicated on Christmas Day in 1870, but that edifice burnt down in 1889.

A new church was built in 1890, utilizing a design based on an upside-down boat hull. (Since there were no church builders in the area, the building work was undertaken by local boat-builders.)

This 1890 church serves as the foundation for the current structure. The church has been remodeled twice, with the most recent renovation and addition dedicated on the Feast of St. Joseph in March of 1999.

The name of the church is Old St. Joseph Church, but the official name of the parish is St. Norbert College Parish. For more information, visit the Old St. Joseph church website.

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898.