July 2015 - Rumors about Winona

In this month's newsletter, the rector seeks to dismiss any rumors about the future of the Winona Seminary, issue an invitation to what will be - God willing - the final ordinations in Winona, and prioritize a list of three important fundraising efforts to improve the current building prior to the move to Virginia.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Winona will close down. Winona will be sold. Winona disappears.

Absurd rumors about Winona thrive, showing the foolishness of those who spread them. It is time to calmly explain things in order to ease the concerns aroused by these clamors. Perhaps we should start by explaining, for those who may not know it, that Winona is the name of a town in the Midwest. It is named in honor of an Indian princess, Wenonah, who – according to local legend, which itself is perhaps nothing more than a rumor! – would have preferred death rather than to marry the man imposed by her father. The rock of her sacrifice is faithfully lighted every evening and is always the pride of the inhabitants of this peaceful Minnesota town. Certainly, the rumors now circulating do not refer to the town of Winona, but only to the SSPX seminary, which has been there for the last 27 years. Indeed, in the current language of Tradition, Winona indicates the seminary.

Next year, God willing, we will move to Virginia, where the building work steadily advances. Thanks to the blessing of St. Joseph who raises generous and persevering benefactors, we should be able to begin our first school year there by September, 2016. The 2015-2016 school year should thus be the last school year of the seminary in Winona. We will begin it relatively early, in August, in order to be able to finish it at the end of May, have ordinations on June 3rd and carry out the move in July and August, 2016. To move such an institution is a considerable and rather daunting work, which will have to begin to be organized as of September of this year, if it is going to be successfully done in two short months. Indeed, in this short period of time, we will have to move our sacristy and all the books of our library, to say nothing of our art workshops, some of our machinery, our archives, a good deal of school material and a minimum of pieces of furniture. It is thus necessary to classify the material, store it, organize its displacement through the country and put everything in its proper place on arrival.

Thus, the June 3rd ordinations should be the last at Winona. This date is, unfortunately, in direct competition with the graduation dates in many of our schools. We are confident that the principals of the US District schools will understand the position in which we find ourselves and will have the kindness to move the ending dates of their school year, in order to allow the parents to be able to attend the graduations of their children without being deprived of attending what will be the last ordinations in Winona. It would be very good, indeed, if a large number of people were to attend these last ordinations in Winona, an important place for the combat of the Faith in the United States. We would like to make of this weekend of ordinations a festival of thanksgiving to divine Providence for the benefits poured upon us during these three decades.

But what will become of Winona then? The property will remain in the Society, since the United States District will inherit it. According to the latest news, a boys’ secondary school should open here and Ignatian retreats will also be preached.

Winona does not close down. Winona is not to be sold. Winona will not disappear. Winona will become, quite simply, an educational establishment of Tradition, called to form the elite of tomorrow, of which we have great need.

In the meantime, Winona is still the seminary and we must take care of it. A care greater than usual, because we wholeheartedly wish to leave to our fellow-members a building not only functioning but also in good repair in spite of its somewhat advanced age.

For two years already, we have worked to renovate the seminary and to replace all the windows which had deteriorated. This work will be continued in August this year and should be finished the next summer.

We would also like to complete three other large building projects before giving the keys of the house to the US District Superior. We present them in their order of importance: the septic system must be completely remade, the elevator is to be replaced and the stone facing of the building must be reinforced.

To remind us of our dependence on His divine Providence, so that we do not abandon Him, God sows varied and unexpected obstacles to our projects. Thus, at the beginning of July, we had to draw from our meager war chest to face a major breakdown of our water system. For a few days during the Ignatian 30-Days Retreat at the seminary, the retreatants, as well as the dozen brothers and seminarians who ensure the good functioning of the house during this time, had to put up with the inconvenience – which was not as easy as one may think. Repairs could be made after a few days, but it added a considerable burden on our budget.

Far from discouraging us, this divine message comforts us: isn't the Cross the indubitable sign that Providence watches over us and holds us in His Paternal Love?

Warmly thanking you for your continuous support, which enables us to continue this exciting work that is the formation of priests, we assure you of our daily prayers for all your intentions, particularly for your families, because the priests of tomorrow receive the seed of their vocation within deeply Catholic families, jewels of the Church.

In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,

Fr. Yves le Roux