Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photo memories of St. Mary’s of Melrose March 12, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:37 PM
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The Church of St. Mary rises above the land, defining Melrose. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

The Church of St. Mary rises above Melrose. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

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.

A view from the back of St. Mary's Catholic Church looking toward the main altar.

A view from the back of St. Mary’s looking toward the main altar. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

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.

Just look at this detailed side altar. I could have spent hours in St. Mary's.

Just look at this detailed side altar. I could have spent hours in St. Mary’s. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

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.

Click here to see my first photo essay, “Hail St. Mary’s of Melrose.”

Click here to see my second photo essay, “St. Mary’s of Melrose, Part II.”

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling