Fish Pond

Fish Pond 1 Fish Pond 2 Fish Pond 3

St. Benedict's Life Magazine Cover -Travels with Patti

 Fish pond outside of the Main building, top row of photos: 1970’s, 1990, and 2007. Bottom row of photos: 1986. 

The St. Ben’s fish pond, occasionally referred to in old publications as the “Lily Pond,” lies between Teresa Hall and the parish/monastery cemeteries and Grotto.  The fish pond was constructed in 1926. In February of 1989, plans were made to renovate Teresa Hall and the surrounding fish pond area. The renovations were completed in 1990.

Originally, there was a stone bridge that connected to the stonework in the middle of the pond, in the center of which was a single-spigot fountain. For many years it was a tradition for students to have photos taken on this bridge.  The outermost stones of the bridge were removed some time after 1969, and in the early 1990’s the bridge was removed entirely, thus ending the tradition of taking photographs from the middle of the pond. 

The pond has long been a popular place for student activities, as well as a nice study spot.

There are Koi fish who call the pond home in the warm seasons. Every winter they are removed from the pond and brought indoors. A tradition began in 2002 of welcoming the fish back to the pond (2016 Parade of Fish video). Usually held during Earth Week, the event involves local school children and includes a procession to the pond, songs, and prayers.

On October 15, 2003, a bench in the garden setting at the fish pond was dedicated to the late Linda Mealey, Ph.D., a psychology professor at CSB and SJU. The bench was purchased by the Gender and Women’s Studies program as a memorial to Mealey. A plaque is set on the bench to honor her contributions to the CSB and SJU community as a teacher and scholar. 


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The following is exerpted from pages 38-39 of an oral history transcript in the Saint Benedict’s Monastery Archives. Sister Etienne Flaherty, OSB, interviewed Roman Zwack in March and April, 1991. Roman worked for Saint Benedict’s from 1936-1979.

Roman: That fish pool was always a big chore. In the fall of the year we had to clean it all up. In the spring of the year we had to put sand on the bottom and then water in it.

Etienne: Where did you keep the fish? Or did you get new ones every year?

R: Down in the men’s house for awhile and then afterwards in the power house in a fish tank. The water was always running. Then I’ll never forget one Sunday Mr. Joe Hoppe, of happy memory, brought his grandchildren and he was showing off the fish pond. At that time we had this catwalk, you know, and he was standing on it and he he went plunk down.

E: And he landed in the pool? (Laughs)

R: Ja.

E: I’ll bet the kids got excited about that.

R: Ja, they did. And they had some big fish in there. That’s why I could never figure out the safety program. All those guys would come and we’d always go over there and see the pool. They never asked to have a fence put around that pool. I could never figure that out.

E: And they still have that little bridge. And it kind of curves, too. It’s not a sturdy bridge at all.

R: It kind of slants. And they never objected to it; they never did. All the functions we used to have out on the south campus.

E: All the little kids that would come to the festival, for example.

R: We never had any problem. I always thought about that.

E: Now there are boxes down there with plants in them, too.

R: Ja, water lilies and other different kinds. They had to be put down in the root cellar in the wintertime and every year we had to bring them out and plant them in the new boxes if the old ones were rotten. That was done by the campus men and the garden men.

E: And during the winter they had to keep those watered?

R: No, no water at all. In the fall of the year we’d take them and put them down there. We’d cut them off and put them down there. Maybe two or three years and then somebody would donate a plant or so and then we boxed it.

E: But those boxes were built right here in the carpenter shop.

R: Yes. Then by the pool there Sister Euphrasia had a rose garden. Sister Benedict wanted a rose garden. We had to haul clay in there and dig out four, five feet of ground and put clay in there and then she planted roses.

 Thanks to Diana Elhard, CSB ’16, for drafting this text.