Seminarians Anticipate Renovations to Immaculate Heart of Mary


WINONA--One thing that excites Adam Worm, a seminarian at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, about moving back into Kelly Hall in the fall is that he will return to a more spacious kitchen.

"It was always kind of a wrestling match to get breakfast in the morning and get to class on time," he said in a May 5 interview at the seminary regarding the renovations.

The kitchen is just one area to be improved by phase one of the renovations, which focuses on Kelly Hall, the seminary's original structure built in 1950. In addition to the kitchen remodeling, phase one includes updates to the plumbing, heating, ventilation, and electricity of the building, and also expansion of office and fellowship spaces. 

"With the renovation, we'll really be able to engage in fraternity more," said Daniel Hammer, another seminarian.

Worm also looks forward to once again welcoming guests, such as the Serra Club, to the seminary's gathering spaces.

Phase one renovations are on track for completion in July, and seminarians will be able to start next school year back in Kelly Hall after being housed for a year in St. Mary University's Watters Hall on the other side of Highway 14.

"It's had its challenges with the space," said Worm. "I think the fraternity has taken just a little bit of a hit, just not being able to use the same areas we were used to being able to use back at Kelly Hall."

"It's been challenging, but that's good," added Hammer. "When we grow is when we're challenged. We have to be more intentional as far as fraternity goes."

Bishop John Quinn called the renovation "a statement of our commitment to prepare men for the priesthood, not only for our Diocese of Winona, but for 12 other dioceses here in the upper midwest."

Community support for the renovation has been robust, the three men agreed, and as the renovation approaches phase two--the addition of an annex to Kelly Hall, with an elevator for barrier-free access--that support is as important now as ever.

"As the bishop, I am always dependent on the generosity of the people here in the Diocese of Winona, and I find them very supportive of the priesthood. They love their priests. And they love their priests so much that they want to invest in the lives of those who are going to be their future priests. ...They want to do what they can--especially with providing an elevator."

"Many were surprised that we didn't have one--even a freight elevator," Bishop Quinn continued. "We've had no way to move things through the building, but most of all this is about people. How does someone get around? ...An elevator really says, not only within this community but to everyone who comes here, that everyone is welcome, and everyone is valuable and important."

Worm, who suffered a broken leg as a Kelly Hall resident before the renovation began, knows first-hand the impact an elevator--or lack thereof--can have on the daily routine of a person who needs one.

"It would have been a little bit nicer to have the elevator rather than having to go up and down the steps every morning, and it would have given me a little extra time as well," he said.

The funding necessary to bring to completion phase two of the IHMS renovation has nearly been raised, and now the Diocese of Winona asks its parishioners to continue with the support they have already shown their future priests.

"Whenever [seminarians are] with me, as we travel around the diocese, ...people always look forward to meeting them, because they are our future priests," said Bishop Quinn. "And once in a while, when I don't have one of the seminarians with me, their first question to me is, 'Where is the seminarian?' They really see in [seminarians] the future, but they see it now. They see these young men, and they're great signs of hope ... They're our springtime."

Hammer added, "The people have been very generous, and we can give back to them. God willing, we are ordained and we can give back our lives to Christ and His Church."

Of Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, Bishop Quinn said, "Almost every priest of the Diocese of Winona has begun the journey to priesthood right here. ...The building is the place, but the 'who' are these great young men. ...It's really a seminary when they fill its halls and rooms."

Donations to the next phase of renovation to IHM Seminary--barrier-free access with the addition of an elevator  and annex to Kelly Hall--can be made by visiting, by calling the development office at 507-494-8844, or by mailing checks to the Catholic Foundation of Southern Minnesota, 55 W Sanborn St, P.O. Box 30098, Winona, MN 55987, with specification as to what the check is for.