Saturday, August 23, 2014

Historic Churches of La Crosse

Yesterday, Thursday we did pack a lot into our visit of La Crosse.  Besides seeing the towering bluff Granddad and touring Riverside Park, we also visited three churches in the city.  The first one was Christ Episcopal Church, a Renaissance style church built in 1898.
 The cathedral has a magnificent Tiffany stained glass window.  We learned at Granddad's bluff that the Reverend L.Breck, pastor of this church in 1850, held the first Christian worship service for the area on top of the bluff.  Christ Cathedral was also the first church in western Wisconsin to have a pipe organ.
The next church, Mary of the Angels Chapel, was consecrated in 1906 and serves as a house of prayer for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.  I knew that angels were the theme of this chapel so I made sure to especially look for them.  We had a guide for the chapel, and, as she pointed out the stain glass windows which feature the life of Jesus and Bible parables, she noted the constant presence of angels in each picture. The windows were furnished by the Art Institute of Munich, Germany.  As our guide also talked about the ten bronzed figures of  Saints Peter and Paul, major prophets, and Latin Fathers of the early church fathers, I could not help but notice the little cherubs peering out from under the figures of the statues.
We also were able to step into the Perpetual Adoration Chapel, where two sisters were praying.  Since 1878 day and night, without interruption, Franciscan Sisters and prayer partners have kept vigil before the Blessed Sacrament, praying for the community, the city and the world. 
Our guide told us the story of St.Michael (archangel pictured above) whose statue stands outside the Adoration Chapel.  He was charged by Mother Antonia to let no harm come to the chapel.  In 1923 the church had a fire, no damage was done to either the chapel or the corridor.
Our last church is a bit newer than the last two, dedicated in 1962.  It is the Mother Church of the Diocese of La Crosse.  Above the main entrance is a relief carving of St.Joseph the Workman.  At his feet are lilies symbolizing purity whose leaves are carpenter's squares symbolizing his labor.  The building is modern in style, made of Wisconsin stone and trimmed in limestone.

No comments:

Post a Comment