By Mackenzie Morey, Aubrey Drohner, & Meghan Finger
Many students, faculty, and community walk along the trails of UW – Green Bay’s Cofrin Memorial Arboretum each day. Along one of the trails lies a small chapel called the Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua that appears next to a tower where they allow visitors to view the University and the rest of Green Bay from the birds-eye-view.
Back in 1925 Odile Le Mieux wanted a space for her son, Fr. Ed Le Mieux to pray and say mass. All along the Niagara Escarpment, the land where the chapel now lies mainly was used as farmland. Odile Le Mieux’s husband, Joseph, built the chapel. He and his brother-in-law Fabian LaPlant constructed and designed the 12-by-18-foot building. The two men used limestone cut from the escarpment directly behind the building. The chapel later became a sanctuary for Odile to pray when she became unable to make it to the local parish church.
Today, the chapel stays open year-round. Locals come to the Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua to reflect in prayer or worship. The small building sits on a perfect spot along with the Cofrin Arboretum. It is little surprise that the Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua is the oldest building on the UWGB campus.
When deciding a location for the foundation of UWGB, a determination of the chapel’s future was needed. “It’s become this incredible collaboration in partnership with the family [and] the university,” states Jacob Depas, Director of Development at UWGB. UWGB acquired the chapel and surrounding property in 1984.
To this day, Le Mieux’s descendants, the Jadin family, continue to maintain the chapel in the woods along with the maintenance crew here at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The chapel is a favorite spot of not only the Jadin family but also many students at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Jaclyn DeMeuse, a senior at UWGB, elaborates on the chapel, “I have been there a few times since one of my friends was telling me about it, and I didn’t believe her that there was a Chapel in literally the middle of the woods. If you are looking to taking a walk on campus on a nice day to explore, I highly recommend going to the Chapel.”