St Boniface – Brief Heritage on the Survival of a Big State Church in Rural Kansas

Alison Rombough

The St Boniface Church and Cemetery is located in Scipio, KS, a little hamlet between the cities of Richmond and Garnett, and two-miles east of Freeway-59. This Catholic church with its 160′ copper steeple and its stained-glass windows is uniquely substantial for a country church, also acquiring an equal-in-size rear ‘L’ wing that is at the moment a rectory and retreat put together. At a single time this two-story limestone wing was a monastery for 25 Carmelite friars, who constructed the existing limestone church, and who subsistence farmed/gardened up to 600-acres close to it.

Primary Church

In the mid 1850’s, a handful of Jesuit missionaries served the Indigenous Americans in eastern Kansas. And then, versus these missionaries needs, these natives were moved further more south. At about the identical time, a lot of immigrants had been using up farm land in the Scipio region, most of them German Catholics.

For the reason that the Scipio group preferred its have church negative, two popular associates of this community prevailed on the bishop in Leavenworth for their own priest. They obtained a at the time-a-thirty day period going to missionary instead. Even so, for the reason that his unannounced visits didn’t operate effectively, they prevailed on the bishop all over again, who compensated them a take a look at. Following looking at the approximately 40 devoted family members of religion and means residing there, he assigned them a long lasting priest.

The community then crafted their new resident priest a modest home and log-church on 20-acres of donated land. It was focused in the spring of 1859. St Boniface would be the only Catholic church in Anderson county for 25 a long time. On the other hand, this circumstance would improve in time as its bordering significant picture developed.

Outgrowing It

In 1865, St Boniface was turned more than to the Carmelite Get, a significant get of friars with German roots. This Purchase gave the parish a big strengthen in membership. In 1869, the railroad arrived close by. By the 1870’s, the parish had outgrown its log church, which was also harmed by a prairie fire. With a lot more people in the parish now, strategies had been started out for a new church on best of the hill, west of the log one particular.

In 1873, their head friar purchased the construction of a log frame Carmelite monastery which would also serve as Mt Carmel College or university parallel to what would later on develop into the current church. For a though, the church expert services would be held in this body monastery, even though the new church was being created.

At some point, this long run setting up arrangement would give the entire facility a significant ‘U’ condition experiencing west when done. The development continued with a a person-space parochial school, a neighborhood hall, and a Ursuline Sisters property north of the proposed church. In the meantime, the friars and lay-persons possessing stonemason competencies hewed and stockpiled their possess limestone blocks for the planned 1881-designed church. Its cornerstone was laid in 1882.

By this time, the Carmelites experienced greater their land holdings to 600 acres. The brothers farmed/gardened it, which incorporated a 10-acre winery and winery. They also built a significant rectangular crimson barn and sheds for dairy cows, livestock, hay, grain storage, and products. No question, they experienced a smoke property and destinations for butchering, canning, and accomplishing laundry.

Situations Transformed

Simply because the township surrounding Scipio is on a country road involving Highways 59 & 169, it hardly ever incorporated. Only a couple of properties continue being there right now. Other Catholic church buildings sprang up in the nearby cities of Richmond, Garnett, and Greeley, all three of them on occupied highways that arrived into becoming in time.

The body college or university closed, and was eventually torn down. The parochial university also closed. So did the close by railroad, which afterwards turned a 51-mile rail-trail. Various friars and Ursuline sisters/instructors still left for other places. The farming stopped. The land was rented out for a while, but was ultimately offered. A storm wrecked the large Carmelite barn, and the populace in the close by towns greater.

Right now

St Boniface still has about 60 lively family members in its parish currently. Its Easter and Christmas providers have standing-home-only attendance. Its higher education-constructing region is turned into a meditation garden with a fountain. Its limestone monastery has been retrofitted into a rectory and present day three-device retreat for priests and many others needing tranquil therapeutic. It really is identified as Elijah’s Rest.

Two friars are living in the rectory, where by they serve the church. The historic cemetery is still utilized, and sits in which the original log-church stood. Visitors pay a visit to this church and its very well-retained cemetery. Its doorways are always open. For comprehensive information and facts on this church, see the booklet beneath.

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