I STOOD THERE. Just stood there. For minutes, taking in the glorious splendor before me.
The cornflower blue of the arched ceiling. The pillars. Pews—endless carved pews stretching from the fonts of holy water to the steps leading to the altar.
Such beauty. Such holiness. Such wonderment.
Opulent, stained glass windows bedecking the sanctuary like jewels on a crown.
Statues fit for the finest of museums.
And then I moved, not sure which direction to go, wondering how I could possibly see every detail. Prayerful hands. Flickering candles. The frayed ends of the bell pull. Gold-leaf stenciled crosses. Worn wood. Angels in flight above the altar.
My eyes swept across the Church of St. Mary’s, or St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Melrose. Choose the moniker you prefer.
The name and the denomination of this 1898 church mattered not to me. I cared only for the heavenly feel of this holy place.
How could I not be impressed by this multi-steepled house of worship next to the turkey plant and soaring above the landscape 100 miles northwest of the Twin Cities?
How many times, if you travel Interstate 94 in central Minnesota, have you noticed those steeples while zipping by Melrose, but never taken the time to drive into town? Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, this Catholic church is worth a stop if you appreciate craftsmanship, art, history and reverent beauty beyond belief.
The 113-year-old building was constructed by the parishioners of St. Boniface and renamed St. Mary’s when St. Boniface and St. Patrick’s parishes merged in 1958.
History runs deep here. You will see it in the hitching post out front, smell it in the incense, hear it in the creak of steps leading to the locked balcony.
And if you listen closely, you can almost hear the whispered prayers of those who have come here on bended knees to lift up their sorrows to the Lord.
I COULD NOT POSSIBLY share my many photos of St. Mary’s with you in one blog post. Please check back for more images in a future post.
© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling