What an interesting day we had.
When we were in the area last spring I had wanted to find the time to visit some
of the Painted Churches of East Texas but time did not allow.
We put them on our list to return - and they have been high on my list because I knew
that Kate would find a special joy in them.
Today while traveling east thru Texas I had alloted a few hours to side track and
check a couple of them out.
Our first was St Marys Catholic Church
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in High Hill, Tx.
Whew.. thats a mouthful for a guy like me.
St Marys is called The Queen of the Painted Churches.
All the churches are located in rural towns in the middle of nowhere.
They are in an area that was settled by German, Austrian, Swiss, and Eastern Europeans
in the mid 1800's. Folks who were looking for a better way of life and the ability
to practice their religion without fear of persecution.
We passed thru little towns with names like Schulenburg and Swiss Alp on our way to our
We parked in front of St. Marys on the Rural Road.
Hardly a car passed by while we were there.
This normal looking little church surrounded by farm fields.
When we entered however we were in another world.
Even for a person like me - its impossible not to feel a sense of comfort and awe.
To not be touched somehow when inside this building.
Good Church architecture is supposed to do this.
The large Cathedrals of Europe fill you with awe... perhaps the fear of god.
The feeling here was more of warmth and comfort.. perhaps the love of god.
And this was built by simple people with limited means.
The smell was of an old but spotless building.
One that has seen and ministered to the hopes and dreams of generations over the years.
Those of you who have followed our blog for years know that I love stained glass.
These small churches had a nice assortment of beautiful windows.
Our next stop was St. John The Baptist Catholic Church in
Ammannsville, Tx. It was about 10 miles away from St. Marys.
It was located off of a dirt road.
The interior was quite different from St. Marys but still quite impressive for
the level of detail.
The view towards the rear of the church looking at the loft where the choir would sing.
Even the stairs to the loft are painted with an incredible level of detail.
Back outside Kate visited the cemeteries outside of both churches which were decorated
for Veterans Day.
Our third and final stop on this whirlwind tour was
Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in
This area was settled by Czech settlers in 1856 who stopped to seek shelter during a storm
in a grove of large Oak Trees and never left.
When the Civil War broke out most of the people did not want to serve in the
Southern Army as they did not believe in Slavery but were drafted and forced to serve.
It was during the service in the Army that many learned to speak english.
Unfortunately this church was locked and we were only able to enter into
the Vestibule, so all my shots were taken from there.
The beauty and varity of these 3 churches show me that my interest in visiting was
well founded and that a return to see more of the 20+ churches is in order.
After our 3rd visit we worked our way thru Houston Traffic.
Due to the Veterans day holiday it was light and we only had 2 major
traffic jams to contend with.
We are now at a nice but quite noisy RV Park next to I-10
in Baytown, Tx. For a place to crash however it is just fine.
Tomorrow we will move another several hundred miles east and
settle for the night on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain at
Fountainebleu State Park.
There we plan on some Cafe Du Monde Beignets and coffee,
plus stock the freezer with Boudin.