I’m embarking on a mini- Marian Pilgrimage, this time to the Lone Star State – Texas!
It’s not on my official list of sites for Marian Pilgrimage: Discovering Mary Across the USA. Instead, it’s a bonus trip, so to speak, that is part of my research for a possible Volume II of my upcoming book, Marian Pilgrimage: A Living Novena (Ave Marian Press, 2018).
This is actually a personal trip, and so much of it I won’t be sharing about publicly. However, I will have the privilege of visiting one of the famous “Painted Churches of Texas” – St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Plantersville – and I’m eager to share that part with you.
What are the Painted Churches of Texas?
They’re a treasure-trove of Catholic faith, beauty, and heritage.
In the late 1800s through the early 1900s, German, Austrian, and Czech immigrants came to the United States not through Ellis Island, but rather through the port city of Galveston. So many came, in fact, that Galveston was known as the “Ellis Island of the West.” Most of the immigrants were Catholic and yearned for places of worship that would reflect their ethnic heritage. So, they formed cultural communities and built churches that reminded them of their homelands.
There are more than 20 of these churches – all located mainly in Central Texas. From the outside, they look like simple country churches. But on the inside they are bursting with color, hosting delicately ornate murals, intricately-painted borders, polished wooden columns and baseboards, and gorgeous stained-glass windows. Inscriptions on the walls are lettered in the mother tongue of the craftsman who built them.
These walls hold more than elaborate decorations. They hold the hard work, hardships, heroism, heritage, and faith of the hopeful, courageous people who crafted them.
I can’t wait to experience this beauty and history and the graces that await me there!
Of course, I’d be happy to pray for you as I go. Drop me an email with your prayer intentions and I’ll take them along in my notebook!
Image: AnonMoos, Wikimedia Commons