Building on a Solid Foundation
Bishop John Martin Henni established the Seminary in his Milwaukee residence in 1845. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee was only two years old and urgently needed priests to serve German Catholic immigrants.
Ten years later, the Seminary moved just south of Milwaukee, to a site that included land from the Lake Drive Franciscan Sisters. The new building, designed by Victor Schulte, was dedicated January 29, 1856, then the feast day of St. Francis de Sales.
In 1861, a few months after the start of the Civil War, Bishop Henni consecrated Christ King Chapel and the original 11-foot, gilded cross was placed on top of the cupola. The first two rectors, Rev. Michael Heiss and Rev. Joseph Salzmann, are interred in the chapel's sanctuary. Archbishop Henni is buried at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Milwaukee.
Additions were made to the orginal building in 1868 and 1875. It was renamed Henni Hall in 1956, the centenary of the Seminary's dedication. Henni Hall was renovated in 1989 and remains the center of Seminary life today.
Saint Francis de Sales Seminary forms the hearts, minds and souls of men called by Jesus Christ to serve God's people as priests in the Roman Catholic Church.
"You are the Salt of the Earth." (Matthew 5:13a)
Since 1845, Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, continues to form men for ordination to the priesthood in the traditions and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. This formation integrates the human, pastoral, spiritual and intellectual dimensions of the Program of Priestly Formation. The intellectual formation is done in collaboration with Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. In partnership with the people of God, seminarians experience the ministry and rhythm of parish life through the parish teaching program.
Our logo's predominant color is a yellow-gold, which is associated with warmth, optimism and joy. Yellow is also the symbol of light and purity.
The Bavarian eagle represents our German heritage, reminding us that the Seminary was founded to form priests for Milwaukee’s German immigrants. The eagle is also a symbol of St. John the Evangelist, the patron saint of our archdiocese.
The shield on the eagle’s chest is the bishop coat of arms of St. Francis de Sales. Its crescent moon symbolizes one who has been enlightened and honored by his sovereign – Christ the King. It also represents the Blessed Virgin Mary who is often shown standing on the crescent moon.
The two stars represent divine quality bestowed by God. They symbolize goodness and nobility.
On the scroll, in German script, is a Latin phrase from the Gospel of Matthew – “Vos estis sal terrae” – “You are salt of the earth.” This is the Seminary’s motto.
All together, the logo represents the qualities we want to instill in our seminarians: Enlightened by God. Devoted to the Blessed Mother. Noble men of virtue who bring light to the world - who have a vision as grand, strong and true as St. Francis de Sales' and St. John the Evangelist’s. Men who become seasoned in their service to the Lord and bring meaning to our lives.