Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What made Wisconsin Famous: Eugene Liebert

This could only happen in Chicago.

I wandered into Prairie Avenue Books today looking for a Dover Edition on Brick Patterms for the Restoration of St. Boniface (certainly a busy man, you might note), they had it in stock, and Beth, the manager knew exactly what I was looking for. I note that PA Books sells Sacred Architecture Journal, and it sells out each issue (they should order more, you might note). In the window of the store I noticed this book, Eugene Liebert: Teutonic Style in the American Midwest.

Big photos, brick-by-brick massing, commercial, residential and ecclesiastical architecture at its Wisconsin finest. Only available at Prairie Avenue Books. I also ran into Bill Hasbrouck, biographer of Louis Sullivan, whittling away at a new biography of Dwight Perkins (my neighbor if I were around 80 years ago) that Bill is writing.

Take a look at more Liebert. This is one of the outstanding, if unknown American Architects. Unknown, that is, outside of Prairie Avenue Books. At left is his Maria Angelorum Chapel in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, a Catholic Powerhouse if there ever was one.

Please patronize PA Book for this outstanding publication benefitting the Franciscan Sisters of Perpertual Adoration.

Weigel on the Heavenly City

Nice mention here from George Weigel

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Churches and Chapels of Kenosha (4)

Just mentioned to my neighbor that I am travelling to Rome, as the neighbor was looking at the accompanying snapshots, stating that this church looked familiar from a trip to Rome. However Kenosha, Wisconsin, the most Italian city in Wisconsin is the home of Holy Rosary, a fine Parish with a Shrine to Our Lady of Pompeii.

An usher informed me that Holy Rosary while built in 1932, has spent over $3 Million on restoration since 2002, making the Church sparkle like new with some very fine restored carvings and painting. New stained glass along with some reclaimed from the closed St. Thomas Aquinas parish look in particularly good shape. Three Cheers for Holy Rosary, a true gem of a church!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pardon our Dust! Evanston Crushes School

Evanston, the city with the "toughest" preservation ordinance in the USA, continues its race to the bottom in destruction of the Prairie-Gothic National Louis University today. Baker Demonstration School, the new owner of NLU, wisecracks, "Pardon our Dust" while cranes take down a 100 year old structure and its adjoining trees.

There is really not much use of any preservation ordinance, when structures such as these are taken down without a peep from the Evanston City Council. Add this to the threat to the Swedish Theological Seminary, and Henry Schlack's Evanston Civic Center, the demolition of the Covenant Methodist Church, and the demolition at Three Crowns Retirement home. It adds up to the most aggressive destruction of Architectural Heritage in the United States, outside of Hurricane Katrina.

Anyone for a nickname change from "Evanston: The Annointed City" to "Evanston: Condo's and Crackhouses"?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

From the RSCJ

I am honored to present this statement from the Director of Schools for the RSCJ (Sacred Heart) to the Lake Forest Preservation Board this evening.

When the St. Madeliene Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart on November 21, 1800, she meant to develop educational institutions that would continue the tradition of intellectual development combined with a strong liturgical and spiritual connection to the Catholic Church.

The Barat Chapel is a built representation of Mother Barat's vision of connecting academic discipline and worship to help recover tradition and practices lost in the French Revolution. You see, many religious orders and their institutions were totally destroyed or driven abroad by radical decisions made during the revoultionary times. However, there was an upside to all this. The Society of The Sacred Heart began its mission in Chicago building and operating 2 schools near Holy Name Cathedral then

At Barat College in Lake Forest and Woodland Academy
At the Academy of the Sacred Heart on Sheridan Road in Chicago

These institutions are the direct result of the dedication of Saints such as Madeleine Sophie Barat to extending the mission of the Sacred Heart Sisters to the new world.

Today, we are able to discuss matters in a much more polite manner. We can evaluate the historical significance of a building versus the pressures of the real estate market. Yet, buildings such as the Chapel represent more than just wood, stone and terra cotta. They represent a connection to our past and an example to a future well worth maintaining, preserving and honoring our traditions, our Sacred Heart alumni, and our religious and architectural heritage.

As many of you know, Sacred Heart Schools on Sheridan Rd. is restoring its chapel. We would be interested in items from the Barat Chapel because of the strong connections between and among Sacred Heart schools around the world. Of particular interest to us is the window depicting St. Madeleine Sophie across from the entrance to the chapel. We would welcome other items and would honor them for their present and past significance to Sacred Heart students, families and alumnae." Sincerely,

Susan Maxwell,rscj
Religious of the Sacred Heart Sacred Heart SchoolsDirector of Schools

Let us pray that the gentle people of Lake Forest are less viscious than the French Revoultionaries towards Holy Mother Church.

Stop Simony! (2)

Now the Chicago Tribune has put one of their top reporters on the case of Barat Chapel. Quoting, the President of Landmarks Illinois, (and a good friend of the SSB)

"Barat Chapel is the most beautiful thing there. Why they would blow that away, I don't know," said David Bahlman, executive director of Landmarks Illinois, a Chicago preservation organization."

How about Susan Benjamin, who wrote the text for the excellent North Shore Chicago book?

North Shore historian Susan Benjamin described the chapel as "one of the most beautiful interior spaces on the North Shore, comparable to the Bahai temple."

OK, thanks Chicago Tribune for recognizing this. Now can the right minded people of Lake Forest, Lake and Cook County and the entire Chicago Community please show up with rosaries and pitchforks tonight to:

"to oppose the plan during a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday of the City Council-appointed Lake Forest Historic Preservation Commission. The meeting will be at City Hall, 220 E. Deerpath Rd. The City Council must approve the plan before it is made final."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Churches and Chapels of Kenosha (2)

Today featuring St. Elizabeth's. Brilliant copper green bowler hat capping the steeple. All Copper entryway. Fine stained glass. Altar has a few issues, as it looks like St. Elizabeth is a later add-on to what was previously a statue of St. George
St. Elizabeth's Parish was formed from the consolidation fo St. George and St. Casmir Parishes. The current building is the old St. George's, and has a German style. (Please correct me if I am mistaken). The entire parish complex is quite nice, and large, containing a grade school, large parish hall, and beautiful Georgian Rectory.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Church Architecture as Heaven On Earth

The Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary will be hosting a conference on Catholic church design entitled "Heaven on Earth: Theology and Design of Catholic Church Buildings" on October 25-27th, 2006. If you or someone you know is building or renovating a church and wants to learn how to re-connect with the architectural tradition of the Church, please recommend this conference to your pastor or architect. The web site tells the theme of the conference:

"In the great tradition, the Church has understood that a church building is an 'earthly heaven.' This sacramental building makes present the realities described by St. John in the Book of Revelation, where the Angel of the Temple gives a tour of heaven, revealing its golden, jewel-covered walls and angels and saints singing the praises of the Trinity (Rv 21:15). Always more than a meeting house, church buildings use art and architecture to make this hoped-for vision of our heavenly destiny knowable to the senses, ļ¬lling churches with the “signs and symbols of heavenly realities” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 123)."

Speakers include architect Ethan Anthony of HDB/Cram Ferguson, historian Denis McNamara, theologian David Fagerberg, church decorator Jeff Greene of Evergreene Studios, iconographer and theologian Fr. Thomas Loya, fundraiser Rita Perrett, architect William Buckingham of Keefe Associates, theologian Rev. Mark Daniel Kirby, O.Cist., and Christopher Carstens, Director of the Sacred Worship Office ofthe Diocese of La Crosse.

Beuatiful churhces are possible--come and find out how!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Visit to St. Vincent de Paul's

A hearty welcome in New York was enjoyed by the Society of St. Barbara, highlighted by a visit to St. Vincent de Paul, the historic French Catholic Parish in the booming Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. More details to come, but I thought I would post some snapshots of SVdP, to document the fine architectural heritage of the French Parish of New York City. Vive St. Vincent de Paul!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Restoration 3: From Chicago to the Raj

Take a look at the cover of Simon Winchester's book on the Architecture of the Raj. You may assume that the dandy uniforms, and classical architecture were the result of the grand English building tradition, muscularly showing itself over its empire. In that, you would not be entirely accurate.

The Glory of the Raj was mainly a marketing technique to show permanancy, power, and stability in a contested region, something that would be in perfect position on ....... State Street in Chicago. The Viceroy, Marquess Curzon, wasn't the designed of his Raj. Nor was the Raj concoted on Pall Mall in London. Rather the Raj was a design target of Lady Curzon, or Mary Leiter. Mary designed uniforms for the Indian Colonial Armies, commissioned buildings on a grand scale, and, yes ordered the restoration of the Taj Mahal.

But State Street? How is this connected. Daniel Burnham designed this store on State Street, as the grand temple of commerce. Burnham, a leading Swedenborgian (sort of the Opus Dei of Lutheranism, if Opus Dei was mostly devoted to beautiful craftwork), designed Marhall Fields, the largest and most powerful department store in the world, during the period of the Raj. And the 50% owner of Fields? Why yes, none other than Levi Leiter, father of Lady Curzon, and the onetime business partner of Potter Palmer and Marshall Fields himself. You see the pomp, grandeur and beauty of the English Empire, owes itself mightily to the daughter of the shopkeeper, and Chicago's own Mary Leiter. And now you know...

Restoration 1 How the Restoration Started Restoration 2-Welcome to Chicago IL Believe it or not, this story is going somewhere. I am reading The Geographers Library and I can assure you, the tale of Chicago Churches is tighter than Jon Fasman's bestseller. It is more lke Paul Harvey's rest of the story.

St James Chapel Update

St. James is looking very clean and pleasant. The broken window has been replaced with a tempororary (It will be fixed, with a exact match, I am guaranteed) placeholder.

The major work is complete. The project still needs to be paid for. The Altar looks awesome. Can any spot 1 very good thing that has changed on the altar this summer, and 2 very out of place items on the East End?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Insignia 3: Vera Cruz, Alpha, Omega, Wapella

This from my home parish, St. Patrick's in Wapella. Never noticed it till I started collecting insignia. I am deducing that these windows are honoring Christ as the Alpha and Omega and St. Helena of the Cross (Emperor Constantine's mother) This morning my Aunt noted her grandfather purchased and dedicated the St. H window in 1902 and was as devoted to the true cross then, as she is today.

In reverence to and honor of the Chapel at Convent of the Sacred Heart

Please join with The Society of St. Barbara in saying this prayer daily, seeking God's providence for keeping his holy works in a sacramental condition. We pray for the Chapel at the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Barat College

"August Queen of Heaven, sovereign Mistress of the Angels, though, who from the beginning hast received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly implore thee, to send they holy legions so that under thy command and by they power, they may drive the devils away, everywhere fight them subduing their boldness, and thrust them down into the abyss.
Who is like unto God?
O good and tender Mother, thou willst always be our love and our hope.
O Mother of God, send thy holy Angels to defend me and drive far away from me the cruel enemy.

Holy Angels and Archangels defend us, keep us.

Indulgenced by St. Pius X on 8 July 1908. Original text from the prayer
dictated by Our Lady to Fathe rCestac on 13 January 1864. via Institute of Christ the King

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New Hope in the Trials of St. Boniface

"The heathens fell upon them and murdered Boniface and fifty-two companions (according to some, thirty-seven)": I suppose when you are being attacked by heathens, 15 companions can make a real difference. At St. Boniface in Chicago, we could use at least 52 companions in getting Henry J. Schlacks faded masterpiece back into shape.

Right now, we have the Archdiocese, the Vicar General, the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, the Mayor's Office, and some folks interested in bringing St. Boniface back as a working Church. Yes, not a condo, not an arts center, not a parking lot, but a Christian Church working to build its mission on the near northwest side of Chicago. The interior was opened today by the Archdiocese in an attempt to show the current mixed condition of the church. I can report:

1) The brick exterior is in fine shape.
2) The neighborhood is fairly safe, and property values are sky-high
3) The interior has some damage, but is structurally sound. There are broken windows.
4) The liturgical ornament is falling apart, but the glory of the liturgical paintings still shows through.
5) The floors and walls need a good cleaning. I wiped off the altar. It will need wiped off again before it is used.

Can we pull in 52 companions to bring this Church back to a shade of its former glory?