Marmion House

Marmion House      Flynn and Leonardz Houses Flynntown 1914

 The building called Marmion House, in Flynntown, has served a variety of roles for the university. The family of Collegeville pioneers Joseph and Helena Roske constructed it. Later, Rodger Julkowski, alum and  English professor of Saint John’s University, owned the house.

In 1968, Marmion housed the Community Education Project, an experimental community living situation for a group of students, both Johnnies (who lived in a mobile home outside the house) and Bennies (who lived in the house). It was referred to as “The Farm” and it existed in Marmion until May, 1969, when it was moved to a house in Avon for a year and then discontinued.

In the late 1990’s Saint John’s bought the house outright. For a time, David and Roseann Keller lived there; David was the first director of the nearby Episcopalian House of Prayer.  It was also used by the fire chief until it acquired its current name in 2000 and became a space for sustainable living.  The house, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and could house up to six students.  It was named after Blessed Columba Marmion, whose miracle of healing a St. Cloud cancer patient led to his beatification. 

The house became the location for students trying to live sustainably, forming the eco-house community along with those housed in the nearby Tholl House.  They tried to save energy, reduce waste, compost, care for the nearby greenhouse, recycle, use a variety of other environmentally friendly living techniques, and hosted events to educate the larger community about the importance of protecting the environment, one of which was the festive “Sustainapolkability” event in the spring.

As environmental concern became more widespread across the student body as climate change crisis became more evident, the interest in having a separate sustainable living community decreased.  A decision to close both the Marmion and Tholl houses was made in 2023 due to the costs of maintenance and repairs.

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Special thanks to Maria Schrupp ’20 for drafting this text.