Winona's rich history within the SSPX will continue on, and house our Brothers' Novitiate. The surrounding areas will also continue to benefit.
Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, has decided that the Brother's Novitiate, which has been at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, MN since 2005, will remain there even as the seminary departs. Fr. Kenneth Dean, the Master of Novices, will stay in Winona with the brother postulants and the novices. Brother Marcel and Brother Maximilian have been appointed assistants of Fr. Dean in the novitiate to help him instruct the postulants and novices in all liturgical, practical, and artistic matters. Fr. Andrew Dwyer will be transferred to Winona from Kansas City and will take care of the buildings in Winona as well as the apostolate in the surrounding chapels.
After years of anxious waiting, the long-anticipated move to Virginia has finally occurred. Seminarians, like ants with dolly carts, moved thousands of boxes into eight large red shipping containers (pods) which littered the beautiful lawns of the seminary. Boxes of all shapes and sizes, of various weight and fragility were stuffed into each. The precious library of some 40,000 volumes, meticulously packed, filled two containers, weighing a total of over 91 tons. A huge crane lifted containers and, negotiating trees, buildings, and curious seminarians, carefully placed each on waiting semi-trucks which then moved east down the dusty road to Virginia.
Another important and valuable shipment, duly insured, was the sacristy, in its own 24-foot truck. While containers were being loaded, other seminarians emptied and cleaned rooms. Others yet were tasked with preparing meals and the final dismantling of systems. The actual departure was carefully planned like a military maneuver. There were five stages, beginning with the containers carrying 120 tons, followed by the rector and vice‐rector a day later. The sacristy departed early on Sunday, the 23rd, after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered in Winona, MN for the last time under the auspices of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary. On Tuesday, October 25th, the seminarians left after a 5:30 AM Mass, a quick breakfast, and a final blessing from Fr. Dean.
For over 25 years, Winona has been the American seminary of the Society of St. Pius X. After outgrowing the former Dominican monastery, and building a new facility to form future priests of the Church, what does the future hold for this outpost of Tradition in southeastern Minnesota? Winona once again receives a new mission from the SSPX, to form religious for the universal Church. We encourage our readers to continue to pray for the growth of Tradition during this Rosary Crusade.
The blessing of the new seminary will be on November 4.