TODAY, AS I PHOTOGRAPHED two rural Minnesota Lutheran Churches, I thought of another church I photographed nearly five years ago in Melrose. The Church of St. Mary. It’s a beautiful Catholic church. Opulent and splendid and filled with a spirit of holiness.
Friday afternoon that magnificent 1898 church 100 miles northwest of the Twin Cities caught fire. Damage is estimated at $1 million.
To current and former parishioners of St. Mary’s and to the Melrose community, I am deeply sorry.
When I photograph a church, I do so because I appreciate the beauty, history, art, and faithfulness therein. I understand the significance of a house of worship in connecting and centering a church family and in building generations of memories and a tradition of faith.
Today I understand even more, though, how important my work of visually preserving small town and country churches. If my St. Mary’s photos from 2011 comfort the folks of Melrose in the aftermath of this devastating fire, then I am blessed.
© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling