Father Joe – An Orphan No More

Father Joe – An Orphan No More

Category : News

At last I am an orphan no more.

As we ponder the life and works of the Servant of God, Father Joseph Walijewski, we may ask ourselves what would inspire someone to work so hard and for so long in a place so far from one’s homeland? What was it that fuelled his energy and gave him consolation for so
many years?

Clues to answer those questions are found in some of his early writings.

When Father Joe was finishing his first year of seminary in Michigan, it was determined that he didn’t fit their profile so he was told to pursue another calling. Perhaps his simple upbringing or his difficulty with some college level classes raised doubt in the minds of the Michigan seminary. For whatever reason, young Joseph
Walijewski needed to find out if God’s plan for his life was the priesthood, and if it was, it would have to be for another diocese.

Displaying early on his character of seeing a problem and determining to do something about it, he decided to send letters of application to the neighboring dioceses asking if they would take him as a seminarian. After several letters went unanswered, someone suggested he contact Bishop Alexander Joseph McGavick of the Diocese of La Crosse. Within two weeks, Bishop McGavick responded to young Joe with a letter asking him to come for an interview. It was that letter that opened the door for him to continue as a seminarian for the Diocese of La Crosse.

A few years later as Joseph was starting his third year at St. Joseph Seminary in Milwaukee, Bishop John Patrick Treacy was named the fifth Bishop of La Crosse. Here is what he wrote to his new bishop in February of 1949, “I owe my whole life’s work for the diocese of La Crosse. I wish I could express my gratitude, for all that your Excellency has done for me. I was on the verge of despair in my attempts in seeking a diocese that would adopt me as one of their sons. I was a seminarian without a diocese, no one would accept me. Then a friend of mine suggested the diocese of La Crosse. At last I am an orphan no more.”

Father Joe knew how it felt to be orphaned as he was looking for a diocese that would adopt him as one of their sons. In response to the kindness shown to him by the Diocese of La Crosse, he pledged his whole life’s work. Little did he know where that would take him or to what extent his service done in gratitude would enable the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be told. Many thanks for your years spent in service to the countless people who received the gift you passed on to them.


Friday, November 5, 2021
2021 Legacy Guild Dinner
Benefiting Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II

5:30 p.m. Social Hour | Dinner & Program to Follow

Blessed Sacrament Parish |  La Crosse, WI

RSVP by Wednesday, October 27, 2021


Father  Joseph Walijewski founded Casa Hogar 35 years ago. His legacy, impact and mission spirit live on today. His Cause for Canonization is open in Rome and The Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild works to continue to build missionary works around the world in his honor,  increase awareness, prayer and work in parish life, evangelization and catholic education. Learn about Padre Jose and how he lives among us today!


Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild and Casa Hogar
Thank you to all who joined our Virtual Night in Peru! We had more than 140 participants from all over the world visit with our children, staff and family teachers. If you missed it or want to go back and tune in to any of the conversations, the link is below. Please feel free to share the recording or any of the videos from the event!

Event Recording

Videos about Pandemic Reflections, The Mysteries of the Rosary and Adoration Drawings from the children



"Then I will not have lived in vain, and I'll not care how long I'll live, if I can give and give and give."

— Fr. Walijewski