As the Civil War rages on, it becomes Seelos’ duty as Redemptorist rector to keep the students (and himself) out of military service, which is against Redemptorist rules. In an effort to avoid the draft, Seelos consults with the provincial and the community, who decide to quickly ordain twenty of the twenty-three students. However, Seelos is not entirely assured of his and the newly-ordained priests’ exemption from the draft, so he travels to Washington where he meets with President Lincoln and other officials. They received their order for exemption, “and the storm passed over thanks to God and the intercession of Mary,” Seelos writes in a letter to his sister.