Emmaus Hall

Emmaus Hall from left to right: 1950, 1993 and 2006 (click thumbnails for larger image)

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Architect: Jackson and Associates, St. Cloud; Grooters, Leapaldt, Tideman; renovation (1993): Rafferty, Rafferty, Tollefson

Contractor: Wahl Construction Company, St. Cloud, Minnesota


Emmaus Hall was constructed in 1950 by the Diocese of Saint Cloud as a seminary for priesthood students.   The architect was Frank W. Jackson, Saint Cloud.  It was commonly called “the Seminary” or “Cloud Hall.” The building is a four story structure of reinforced concrete faced with brick and other decorative stone. The lounge and library are enhanced by a series of stained glass windows.  It cost $600,000 to build it as housing for the expected 100 seminarians from not only Saint Cloud but also from various dioceses across the country. The building was blessed on September 16th, 1952 by Cardinal Edward Mooney of the Archdiocese of Detroit, with two archbishops and 24 bishops from 12 states and Yugoslavia. 

A mural of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, was added behind the altar in 1960. It depicts Mary and the twelve apostles. The mural was comissioned by Rev. William A. Renner and took nearly two years to complete. It was painted in Rome by professor Enrico Guadenzi, who used live models to create the mural. Upon completion, it was shipped to St. John’s and installed by the St. Paul Statuary Co.

In the 1960s, after Vatican Council II, there was a decline in seminarians across the nation. At first the extra spaces were used for overflow housing for the university, but Rome preferred that the seminary be a separate building. St. Cloud’s Bishop Jerome Hanus bequeathed the seminary building back to St. John’s in 1988. With that transfer, the old seminary received its new identity as Emmaus Hall, and was used for housing lay and religious students of the School of Theology.  “Emmaus” is the name of the town to which the disciples were walking after Easter morning when Jesus came and walked with them and explained the scriptures; at Emmaus they recognized the risen Lord in the breaking of the bread. 

In 1993, a significant renovation was undertaken:  10 apartments were created, as well as 22 larger rooms and 33 single rooms, making the occupancy 65 students.  At that time, Seminary students began to be housed in the renovated  St. Francis (Frank) House and School of Theology students to live in Emmaus Hall. Also some classrooms were built on the ground floor of Emmaus Hall for the School of Theology.  It has also served as office space for some of the various programs of the university.

Housing was provided on the second floor of Emmaus Hall in Fall 2011 for female boarding students enrolled at  St. John’s Prep, who had previously lived in Richarda Hall at CSB.