Fr Barry FischerA Note from Fr. Barry Fischer, C.PP.S. - June 13th 2017

Dear Fellow Pumas,

Now that all of us have enjoyed the 4th of July Holiday, it is time for another update on what is happening around here at St. Joe.

The Phoenix Team is hard at work. We begin our daily meeting each day with prayer and reflection, as I continue to emphasize that “mission” be at the center of whatever model is ultimately proposed. Reflections recently have centered around “covenant/community,” being an open, welcoming, hospitable community. Emphasis was placed on two needs: to be open to “the Other” and to create a community atmosphere. Ideally, we want to use our daily experiences to relate to “others” who may be different from us for whatever reasons. We emphasize basic Gospel values as expressed through the spirituality of the Precious Blood.

The Phoenix Team has been engaged in exploring promising possibilities for the future of Saint Joseph’s College. Meeting the needs of future students is the critical focus, particularly on redesigning the Core Curriculum as foundation for a substantive, sustainable, and transforming experience for students.

In order to broaden our lens we continue to seek input from different local groups in Rensselaer and in the State of Indiana. The Team met with a group of local agricultural leaders to share ideas and to discuss how SJC might serve the needs of the community. We feel it is very important to get the Rensselaer community involved in our discussions as we search for a model for the new Saint Joseph’s.

We wish to develop a model which affords hands-on learning experiences for our students as we continue to move through meeting the needs of our community and of those who need access to education. This is a work-in-progress. I will keep you updated, particularly when a model or several models are created.

The Team appreciates the numerous alumni and friends of the College who have offered their ideas, skills and good will. As the Phoenix Team’s work progresses we will share more developments on our efforts to relaunch Saint Joseph’s College.

On July 2nd, about seventy people gathered for a festive Mass of the Precious Blood, followed by a catered lunch. Annually this event was held at Lake Banet, but this year due to the restrictions of access to the College campus, Dr. Chad Pulver and his wife Rachel, hosted the event in their back yard. It was a great time to build relationships. A heartfelt thanks to Chad and Rachel and to Tom Ryan and his wife, Beth, and for my fellow Missionaries for helping make possible this annual celebration of our titular Feast Day.

Now I’d like to share some other news with you, concerning our alumni. This week we were saddened to hear of the death of Stephen M. Ligda, Sr. Steve devoted many years of service to the College as a former Chair and life time member of the Board of Trustees and past President of the SJC Board of Alumni. Two of his sons, Steve, Jr. (1989) and John (2004) were graduates of Saint Joseph’s. I concelebrated his funeral Mass in Chicago and was accompanied by the Phoenix Team. We pray for Steve and for his wife and family as they mourn his loss.

Fr. Phil Gilbert, whom many of you know, has now moved to our retirement center in Carthagena, Ohio. Fr. Phil lived at St. Joe’s for nearly years and was a math professor for many years. He continued to live at St. Joe’s after retiring from teaching, but with the suspension of activities, it was time to make the move to Ohio. I am sure that he and Fr. Len Kostka, also in retirement there, will have many tales to swap about their life at their beloved SJC.

I must make mention of two of our Alumni who have recently been ordained priests. Luke Hansen, class of 2004, was ordained a priest of the Jesuit Order, this past June in California. And on Saturday, July 8, James Smith, class of 2009, was ordained a priest with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Congratulations to these fine alumni and blessings upon their ministries.

Some of you may be aware that gates and roadblocks were erected at the entrances of our campus. This was a very difficult decision to make. We are working diligently on the east side of campus, but must assure the safety and proper care of the campus grounds and buildings. It is still possible to visit the reflection pond at the front entrance, but access to the interior of the campus is not permitted. We beg your understanding as we have come to this decision due to liability concerns. Our very capable facilities’ personnel are keeping the campus looking good, under the expert guidance of Dennis Black. Brothers Tim Hemm and Rob Reuter can often be seen out on their mowers keeping the lawns in good shape.

The internet and phone system on the main campus is now shut down. Phone and internet will be available to us here in Drexel. Once the new phones in Drexel are installed, I will make those numbers available to you. Meanwhile, the College can be reached by the old phone number: 219-866-6000.

During this time of transition, a new web site has been created for the College. It will be developed gradually. Check it out at:

That’s it for now. Hopefully you will enjoy some good vacation time the summer. And keep us in your prayers!

Fr. Barry
Fellow Puma
July 7, 2017