Newman Center celebrates 50 years of loving, serving

By |2013-08-22T14:48:30-05:00Aug 22, 2013|General|

A spirit of welcome and hospitality greets visitors to the Newman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Dave Kinsman’s desk sits in the entryway so he can welcome anyone who visits. He and his wife Dawn are the Newman Center’s full-time campus ministry team. They draw inspiration from the work of Venerable Solanus Casey, a Wisconsin Capuchin priest whose job as a monastery doorkeeper became a ministry of serving through listening.

The Kinsmans’ goal is for the Newman Center to be students’ home away from home, where they find a welcoming environment and a listening ear.

Place for food, relaxation, prayer

The first floor of the center includes a community area where students can socialize or study, as well as a fully stocked kitchen and dining area.  

The space on the upper level includes a game room, an art studio and a technology center with computers dedicated to graphic design and music editing.

In the basement, Java Joe’s serves as a quieter hangout, with booths, root beer on tap, and an espresso bar decorated with a collage of saint medals and holy cards.

Across the way, also on the lower level, is the heart of the Newman Center: the chapel,

For information on the Newman Center’s 50th anniversary festivities, Sept. 21-22, visit or call (414) 964-6640.

where Mass is celebrated several times a week.

Center marks 50 years

This year, the Newman Center celebrates 50 years of serving as the center of Catholic student life at UWM.

The first Catholic student organization at UWM pre-dates the center. Founded in 1930, the organization was known as the Cardinal Gibbons Club in honor of Cardinal James Gibbons, who served as archbishop of Baltimore for 43 years and is considered by historians one of the most influential U.S. Catholics of the late 19th, early 20th century.

Brother Beekeeper creates buzz at retreat center

By |2011-09-01T17:58:11-05:00Sep 1, 2011|General|

CHN11Redemptorist Br. Gerry Patin, affectionately known as Brother Beekeeper, looks over a honeycomb from one of the 14 hives he tends on the Oconomowoc property of the Redemptorist Retreat Center. Br. Patin, director of the center, raises funds for the center by selling honey, lip balm and soaps made from products from the hives. (Submitted photo courtesy Redemptorist Br. Gerry Patin)While roaming the Redemptorist Retreat Center’s 20 acres of natural woodlands, the only sounds injecting themselves into the silence are those of nature. Listen closely, and the hum of honeybees busy at work may draw even the most unnerved a bit closer.

Several hives in a corner of this Oconomowoc haven contain thousands of bees. They fly out; they fly in, collecting pollen from the sweet smelling flowers on columbine, lilies and other wild flowers that line the property.

Affectionately known as Brother Beekeeper, 62-year-old Redemptorist Br. Gerry Patin, director of the Redemptorist Retreat Center, lovingly tends his bees.

Each of his 14 hives contains between 50,000 to 60,000 bees during the honey flow season, and can weigh more than 100 pounds by the end of summer. Each colony has a queen, tens of thousands of workers who make the honey and hundreds of drones who mate with the queen, then die; to that, add the weight of the comb with eggs, brood and larvae, pollen stores and honey. In general, beekeeping is easy and fun, according to Br. Gerry, and while considered a hobby, it was one he entered into unexpectedly early in his religious life.

“It was 1969 when stationed at our high school seminary in Edgerton, Wis.,” he explained. “The brother taking care of the bees was transferred and I was asked if I would be interested in taking over the 10 bee hives that were at that facility. I responded, ‘absolutely.’”

After a crash course in learning about beekeeping, the brother gave him an instruction book on the subject. Quickly reading anything he could get his hands on, he found the beekeeping to be not only calming and enjoyable, but a great success.

“Eventually, we closed our high school seminary and I sold all of the bee equipment, along with the hives,” Br. Gerry said. “I was transferred to Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit for the next 17 years.”

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