St Boniface – Transient History on the Survival of a Massive Country Church in Rural Kansas

St Boniface – Transient History on the Survival of a Massive Country Church in Rural Kansas

The St Boniface Church and Cemetery is found in Scipio, KS, a modest hamlet concerning the towns of Richmond and Garnett, and two-miles east of Highway-59. This Catholic church with its 160′ copper steeple and its stained-glass windows is uniquely big for a region church, also acquiring an equal-in-length rear ‘L’ wing that is presently a rectory and retreat merged. At 1 time this two-tale limestone wing was a monastery for 25 Carmelite friars, who constructed the current limestone church, and who subsistence farmed/gardened up to 600-acres all over it.

Authentic Church

In the mid 1850’s, a handful of Jesuit missionaries served the Indigenous People in america in eastern Kansas. And then, towards these missionaries wishes, these natives were moved even more south. At about the very same time, several immigrants were being taking up farm land in the Scipio area, most of them German Catholics.

Simply because the Scipio group wished its individual church terrible, two notable customers of this local community prevailed upon the bishop in Leavenworth for their very own priest. They obtained a as soon as-a-thirty day period going to missionary in its place. Having said that, since his unannounced visits did not perform well, they prevailed on the bishop all over again, who paid out them a go to. Following viewing the almost 40 focused households of faith and signifies living there, he assigned them a lasting priest.

The community then created their new resident priest a small property and log-church on 20-acres of donated land. It was devoted in the spring of 1859. St Boniface would be the only Catholic church in Anderson county for 25 years. Nevertheless, this circumstance would change in time as its surrounding major image produced.

Outgrowing It

In 1865, St Boniface was turned around to the Carmelite Purchase, a huge purchase of friars with German roots. This Purchase gave the parish a major boost in membership. In 1869, the railroad arrived close by. By the 1870’s, the parish experienced outgrown its log church, which was also ruined by a prairie fireplace. With additional family members in the parish now, programs ended up begun for a new church on major of the hill, west of the log one particular.

In 1873, their head friar requested the building of a log frame Carmelite monastery which would also serve as Mt Carmel Faculty parallel to what would afterwards grow to be the latest church. For a while, the church products and services would be held in this frame monastery, even though the new church was remaining designed.

Finally, this potential developing arrangement would give the total facility a huge ‘U’ condition dealing with west when completed. The construction ongoing with a 1-place parochial faculty, a local community hall, and a Ursuline Sisters house north of the proposed church. Meanwhile, the friars and lay-folks possessing stonemason abilities hewed and stockpiled their personal limestone blocks for the prepared 1881-developed church. Its cornerstone was laid in 1882.

By this time, the Carmelites experienced elevated their land holdings to 600 acres. The brothers farmed/gardened it, which bundled a 10-acre vineyard and vineyard. They also developed a massive rectangular pink barn and sheds for dairy cows, livestock, hay, grain storage, and equipment. No question, they experienced a smoke home and sites for butchering, canning, and carrying out laundry.

Moments Improved

Due to the fact the township encompassing Scipio is on a place road concerning Highways 59 & 169, it never integrated. Only a several residences keep on being there nowadays. Other Catholic churches sprang up in the nearby cities of Richmond, Garnett, and Greeley, all 3 of them on hectic highways that came into currently being in time.

The frame college closed, and was at some point torn down. The parochial university also closed. So did the nearby railroad, which later on became a 51-mile rail-trail. Many friars and Ursuline sisters/instructors left for other areas. The farming stopped. The land was rented out for a even though, but was finally marketed. A storm ruined the large Carmelite barn, and the populace in the close by towns enhanced.

These days

St Boniface however has about 60 lively households in its parish now. Its Easter and Xmas services have standing-room-only attendance. Its school-building region is turned into a meditation garden with a fountain. Its limestone monastery has been retrofitted into a rectory and present day three-unit retreat for clergymen and many others needing tranquil therapeutic. It’s known as Elijah’s Relaxation.

Two friars reside in the rectory, exactly where they serve the church. The historic cemetery is nonetheless applied, and sits wherever the original log-church stood. Travelers pay a visit to this church and its well-kept cemetery. Its doorways are normally open up. For thorough facts on this church, see the booklet underneath.