The administration building of the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas has been named in honor of the late Father Charles L. Froehle, a parish priest who also served the seminary for 25 years as a professor, dean and rector.
The seminary’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to name the building in February. Following its Thursday, April 30, meeting, the board will dedicate a “Father Charles Froehle Administration Building” plaque that will be installed at the entrance to the building’s main conference room.
Archbishop John Nienstedt, chair of the seminary’s board, will lead the dedication and blessing of the plaque.
Froehle, a native of St. Cloud, died at age 77 on Jan. 6 following a lengthy illness. He graduated from the Saint Paul Seminary and was ordained in 1963. Five years later, after completing a doctorate in theology in Rome, he returned to the seminary, where he initially served as professor of sacramental theology, dean of studies and vice rector.
In 1980 he was appointed rector and was one of the major architects – along with Monsignor Terrence Murphy and Dr. Charles Keffer from St. Thomas and Archbishop John Roach from the archdiocese – of the 1987 affiliation of the seminary with the then College of St. Thomas. That year he became the vice president of St. Thomas for the School of Divinity.
In the years immediately following the affiliation, Froehle directed a $9.1 million capital campaign to design and build the seminary’s new administration building and residence hall, and to renovate St. Mary’s Chapel. The seminary campus, established in 1894, is at the western end of Summit Avenue and overlooks the Mississippi River valley.
After retiring as rector of the seminary in 1993, he served as pastor of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Buffalo from 1994 to 2001 and of Our Lady of Lourdes in Minneapolis from 2001 until 2012. When he left the seminary in 1993, St. Thomas awarded him an honorary doctorate. A citation that accompanied the degree described Froehle’s “remarkable expertise, sensitivity and patience in dialogue with all those who had stake in this new School of Divinity.”
“Father Froehle’s was a quiet, gentle presence at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity,” said Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan, the seminary’s rector since 2005. “He realized his call as a priest was to preach, teach and sanctify. He gave noble witness to the call in the many years he spent himself forming the hearts of scores of good men, after the heart of the shepherd.”
Dr. Vic Klimoski, a former academic dean of the seminary, said, “Father Froehle was masterful in guiding discussions about the new administration building by reminding us that our decisions were about the larger good of the seminary and its mission, not our particular preferences. As in all aspects of his leadership as rector, mission trumped everything else.”
“Father Froehle was a man who saw the gifts and talents of others and encouraged them to develop and use those gifts,” added Janet Gould, executive assistant to the rector and another colleague of Froehle. “It was quite a fine quality in a man who was charged with forming leaders for the church.”
The School of Divinity today enrolls men who are studying for the priesthood and lay men and women preparing for service in the church.