St. Anthony Spirituality Center celebrates 100 years

Saint Anthony Spirituality Center in Marathon opened its doors 100 years ago this weekend. It was originally open as a seminary for the Franciscan order. This weekend's celebration kicked off with mass, walking tours, and a ribbon cutting ceremony with the city.

"Franciscans today are known for their simple lifestyle, their solidarity with their poor, their care of creation and of course, hospitality, which is what we do here, " Center Director Lori Randall said.

For people here, the centennial is about honoring the history within its walls and celebrating how much the monastic building means to people who have passed through here. Retired Priest Werner Wolf recalled attending college there.

"Driving in, it's like coming home. It's pretty much the same," he said.

Until the 1960s, young men who wanted to become Franciscan capuchins lived here lived here to study. Farmers in Marathon helped the founders clear the land and lay the foundation and the building's features haven't changed much since.

"There's a stillness here, and there's a peace, that you just don't find outside of this. It's a very sacred space," Randall said.

In 2013, the center was in danger of closing, but the community decided they could not let that happen. Volunteers like Marge Lindell formed a non-profit and took it over.

"This was our goal when we took over, was to reach the centennial. We wanted to make this goal. Now we have to move forward and work on the next hundred years," Lindell said.

The anniversary celebration will continue Sunday with mass and self-guided tours of the grounds.