Linda Frasch (left) and Kris Antolec stand near items for sale. Frasch, who owns the 38-acre former JFK Prep School in St. Nazianz with her husband Jim, opened up one of the outbuildings for vendors to display items for sale. Antolec assists with the flea market which is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at what is now called St. Nazianz Christian Center. Sellers may rent outdoor booths without electricity for $25; inside, 10x10 foot booths without electricity for $35; or inside booths with electricity for $40. Call Jim at 773-3050 or e-mail stnazcctr@tds.net for more information.
Gina Kabat photos
Linda Frasch (left) and Kris Antolec stand near items for sale. Frasch, who owns the 38-acre former JFK Prep School in St. Nazianz with her husband Jim, opened up one of the outbuildings for vendors to display items for sale. Antolec assists with the flea market which is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at what is now called St. Nazianz Christian Center. Sellers may rent outdoor booths without electricity for $25; inside, 10x10 foot booths without electricity for $35; or inside booths with electricity for $40. Call Jim at 773-3050 or e-mail stnazcctr@tds.net for more information. Gina Kabat photos
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Perhaps it is God's will to pilgrimage man, machine and financial means to a sullen landmark in disrepair.

"This is the path God has led us to," said Linda Frasch. She and her husband Jim acquired the sprawling 38-acre property last year in St. Nazianz formerly known through the years as JFK Prep School/Salvatorian Seminary along CTH A.

Both she and Jim envision the property as it used to be, complete with abundant beauty of nature, working buildings, fellowship of mankind and worship. "This is the place we want church organizations and groups involved with spreading the word of God to congregate and socialize," Linda said. Under the canopy of the former seminary, the facilities and grounds are slowly being renovated to allow larger groups to gather and participate in church group camping activates.

Jim and Linda belong to United Ministries Incorporated, a non-profit 501C3 ministry started in 2005 as the Christian Center in the inner city of Green Bay. The ministry's focus is to establish new ministries and churches with programs to support neighborhoods with kid's clubs, after-school tutoring, food pantry, shelter needs and miscellaneous assistance.

Looking for a rural setting

The couple became members and avid participants within the structure of the ministry. Both originally from the Green Bay area, they wanted to move away from the larger, big-city atmosphere and fulfill a dream to live in a rural setting teaching Christian ethics and relationship building. The couple's intentions include summer and winter camps for children, a Christian church usage and a special location for retreats and conferences.

"We are welcoming all Christ-centered churches to participate in our new adventure," Linda said. Development of a primitive campground for children ages 8 to 17 has started this summer with the assistance of helping hands from their ministry and glorious weather. Currently, the dormitory which sits on the north side of the property is being renovated to accommodate up to 100 children for summer and winter usage. "This building was used over 100 years ago to house students of the seminary. It needs a lot of work, as do all of these buildings," said Linda, who has insight to the development of the property one building at a time.

The couple is also focusing on the gymnasium which is located behind the main school building that is most visible from the road. The gymnasium was one of the last buildings erected and, most noticeably, the most modern. Rooms underneath the gym have been "gutted," resurfaced and repainted. This undertaking comes with a lot of sweat equity, time and patience. The couple toil daily at their residence along with several volunteers who pray for its fruition.

"It would take $20 million to fully restore the property to where it used to be," said Linda, who has had contractors and inspectors evaluate the property. Although it would take a miracle for this amount of funding to grace the church, school, housing areas, former printing building, landscape, courtyards, recreational facilities and outbuildings now, all hope is not lost for the resurrection of the Salvatorian fathers' vision when they came to St. Nazianz in 1896.

School good for years yet

Inspectors told Linda the school will probably stand another 150 years. Aside from the cosmetic upgrades of new windows, flooring and complete removal of certain interior walls, the structure of the building is just fine. The church across from the school, however, desperately needs a new roof. "This alone is about $150,000," said Linda, who searches for environmental grants and funding from outside sources or organizations and businesses that would be interested in taking on this project.

Ideally, Jim and Linda said they would like to see the entire grounds running self sufficiently with solar or wind energy, geothermal networks, self-contained gardens and a man-made pond to the south of the property. "The pond will be happening this fall," said Linda, who has already lined up a contractor to dig up an already natural basin in what used to be an outdoor soccer area.

The Frasches continue to learn more about this unique historical property through local folklore and exploring the terrain on their own. Tunnels used under the cement roads acted as a means of heating the buildings from the boiler maker and tower just behind the church. Student life was abundant among the halls of the school still complete with black slate boards and chalk. The couple imagine the tennis courts in full use and the sounds of children playing baseball in the open field. A church group recently visited their Christian Center and rallied up a game of baseball. "Just to hear the laughter and the sound of happiness, was all I needed. I just knew this is what we should do with this place," said Linda. "Restore it and bring it back to life," she added.

Funding for church camp gatherings is made possible by an onsite outlet store, weekly flea markets, contributions and the support of local churches. "We know we can't sustain the amount of funds it would take to complete our short- and long-term goals with the on-site outlet store alone. It's just a beginning," Linda said.

Looking for funding

United Ministries is exploring alternative sources of funding through additional donations and interested parties willing to assist in the development of the restorative project. In the future they would like to use the front building that used to house a printing facility for a historical museum to house the many photographs and booklets pertaining to the seminary.

Buried under years of overgrown shrubs, debris and lack of nurturing stands a statue of Jesus. He stands as a symbol that is very special to Jim and Linda and was resurrected on a beautiful day of general landscaping and yard work. Here, among the weeds of forgotten and abandoned promises, he stands as if to say, "I am here, I have always been here, and I will always be here." The Frasches might never know why it was their calling in life to invest their whole selves to such an enormous endeavor. They find themselves approaching their golden years sinking roots deep in the soils of St. Nazianz, traveling the very long road ahead into uncertainty, finding solace in this statue.

Perhaps Father Ambrose Oschwald felt the same overwhelming feelings of hope and prosperity for a new-found land buried deep within the woods of natural landscape and religious freedom when he and he small group of settlers carved their way through dense forest in the fall of 1854. Not that different from the same feeling the Frasches felt the moment they viewed the property in the summer of 2008 complete with renewed hope for their futures and the futures of so many children and families willing to spend time worshiping and learning about the lord, cutting through a figurative dense forests of drugs, lack of discipline and social inequity. Their mission is to restore it back to what it was, planting the seeds of faith and cultivating Christian-based fraternity.

They believe in the passage, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And he shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5

Their path is long, but quietly they wait.