In the heart of the United States a church once stood. It was the center of the historic St. Mary‘s College, and from her limestone bosom poured forth over 1000 priests.
In 1978, due to faulty wiring, the noble building caught fire and was all but burned down.
Several attempts were made over the years to rebuild from the ruins.
The bell tower was recapped in the early 90’s.
But the community of Traditional Catholics that began to resurrect the campus were also growing. It became very clear that the growing families would never all fit within the original foundations of the old Immaculata.
So in July of 2009, the ruins were to be razed. Upon the old foundation, a bigger structure was to be made. You can watch a video my brother filmed going into the tower combined with the destruction of it here. It’s pretty moving.
The evening before the grave event, I trudged up a pasture road that overlooked campus. I lugged a large watercolor pad and a backpack containing my paints.
I found the perfect view and took in the scene.
Many times I had gone running that route, with my dog Homer, now dead. It always lifted my heart to see the structures of campus jutting up from among the trees and distant fields. The ceramic-tiled spire of the Immaculata was always a picture of quiet reassurance.
On that warm, humid evening, to the sound of cicadas and evening birdsong, I painted that scene, immortalized it for all time, in my youthful watercolor style.
The next day, July 13, 2009, the noble ruins, spire and all, came down. It was heartbreaking in many ways, especially to the natives of the town and the people who had put so much work into fixing her up, only to have her burned down.
It still is painful to recall the old Immaculata, with her regal Gothic windows and noble buttressed tower. She is no longer standing, her beauty like us has passed. “Dust thou art, and dust though shalt return.”
I do wish they had at least left the bell tower up as a tribute and reinforced it so that it would be a safe attraction that would, in a sense, still crown campus.
Her beautiful white tower, capped in red, so visible from Highway 24 and the backroads above the town, no longer jubilantly show itself above the prairied land.
But now, just over ten years later, thirty years from her burning, and over a hundred years since her birth, she rises again, reborn.
See the next post for rising of the New Immaculata.
Better yet, be part of history and give -even if it’s just a dollar- to help make this Church happen. Click here.
A civilization founded on worship of the one true God is a civilization that will last into eternity.
See how you can help at anewimmaculata.org
Thanks so much for reading! If you you know someone who would appreciate this, please pass it on to them! It’d really make my day!
Above all, please pray “Jesus, please bless this project!”
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