Father Joseph Walijewski

Life of Father Joseph Walijewski
a report submitted by SaLeya, grade 9

Father Joseph Walijewski also known as Father Joe, was born in Michigan, in 1924. He grew up in the great depression and lived a poverty life. Ever since Father Joe was little he always wanted to serve God as a priest. He also loved missionary work.

Father Joe first came interested in South America when a man gave him a banana. He felt the need to find out where the banana came from so he asked the man. He found out it came from South America and it became a growing fascination for him.

Father Joe’s Mother had three wishes, have a son name Joseph who would become a priest, he would build a church in honor of St. Joseph, and she would die on one of the St. Joseph’s  feast days. All of her wishes came true when she died on the Universal Feast of St. Joseph.

After high school, Father Joe was accepted at St. Bonaventure Seminary. He struggled through all four years and at graduation people told him to become a religious brother instead of a priest, but Father Joe didn’t want to give up his dream. He then applied to St. Francis Major Seminary in Milwaukee and was accepted. He continued to struggle but one of his teachers said, “He may not be the smartest priest, but he will be the holiest priest.” This is what kept Father Joe going and on April 16, 1950, he was ordained by Bishop John Patrick Treacy as a Priest for The Diocese of LaCrosse.

From 1950 to 1956, he served in The Diocese of LaCrosse. In 1956, he moved to Bolivia and served there until 1966. In 1966, he returned to The Diocese of LaCrosse and stayed until 1971. In 1971 he returned to South America, this time to Peru where he established Casa Hogar, Father Joseph Walijewski died in 2006, but Casa Hogar continues to serve children today.