Friday, August 10, 2012

Stearns County Churches

My ancestors from Stearns County, MN were Catholics, German immigrants from Bavaria and Alsace-Lorraine.  There was a very high concentration of Catholics in the county and, consequently, Catholic Churches.   Driving along the county roads, you could see a stand of trees and a steeple from the town's Catholic church poking through the canopy.  The churches were large and impressive, for the most part.

Most of the remaining churches were built after my ancestors had passed on or moved away.  It was still lots of fun to tour these churches (all open, except for the closed St. Catherine's) and take some photos:

Sts. Peter and Paul, Richmond MN

The Hammers lived in the area around Richmond.  Michael Hammer, Sr., my great-great grandfather, was buried from this church.  There are several Hammer graves in the Catholic cemetary in town. 

The church appears to be a thriving parish, building an addition to the main building, and supporting a grade school.

Original church, errected 1884

Portrait of St. Vitus, one of many painted on the ceiling.

Sanctuary, from choir loft

St. Martin's, St. Martin, MN:

The old Gothic-syle church was replaced in 1969 with a modern structure which was larger and more easily accessible -- no stairs.

It's a round church, and I only took a photo
of the sign out front.


St. Margaret's, Lake Henry, MN
The parish was established in 1882; the present church was completed in 19??.  Grampa Martin Leo Heisler was born in the Lake Henry township, and was likely baptised in the Catholic Church in the village.

Built in 1922, well after family left area

One of the many beautiful windows in the church.

St. Catherine's, Farming, MN

The church was closed by the Diocese of St. Cloud in May, 2011.   There are some spectacular stained glass windows, according to a Flickr posting here.  Great grandparents Joseph and Anna Heisler lived in the surrounding area and had two of their daughters succumb to diptheria.  I suspect they are buried in unmarked graves in the church's small cemetery.

Missing a steeple?

Front door

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