Sunday, January 25, 2015

Event Report: Doors Open Milwaukee 2014, Part 2

Picking up from the first part of this series (which I posted about two months ago), here we have Milwaukee's answer to the uptake in Latin Mass communities.  St. Stanislaus Oratory is currently southeastern Wisconsin's sole home for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  The Institute, based in Chicago, is probably best known for bringing the old Latin Mass back to a number of cities across the country.  

In light of the Latin Mass being celebrated here, you see everything on the high altar oriented to where the Eucharist should be.  "Should be" because during the tours for Doors Open Milwaukee, the priests moved the Eucharist out of the tabernacle (top of this photo) to help avoid irreverent movement around the Host. 


Left: Reliquary containing a relic of St. Thomas, Apostle and Martyr.
Right: One of two angels flanking the high altar. 

An important trait about the Institute: They seem quite intent on restoring the oftentimes historic church structures that they occupy.  The major theme for the discussion about the church at Doors Open was the planned restoration project aimed at bringing the church near it's original look from the late 1800s.  I say this here as one of the priest's particular speaking notes was directed to the Polish White Eagle at the top of this photo.  The White Eagle has been a significant Polish icon for generations and the crest shown here is original to the church (Milwaukee's Polish "mother" church).  Just out of view of the picture is a big speaker that keeps the White Eagle practically hidden from most of the church.  Among many other changes, the speaker system is supposed to be altered to reveal this Polish iconography once again.


St. Mary, beneath the Cross.  

A beautiful dome mosaic above the Sanctuary.  

"...and that Musky was this big coming out of the water!"  Just kidding, but this is what comes to mind every time I see this picture.  The summary of the planned church restoration was well delivered, even without fish tales.

Doors Open Milwaukee attendees mill around in the Sanctuary asking questions after the presentation.

St. Stanislaus is another of the more fortunate churches in the inner-city Midwest.  Like many of the Chicago churches that I reviewed around the holidays, it came to life by way of a strong group of immigrants.  As the neighborhood changed and daughter parishes sprung from the original St. Stanislaus parish boundaries, attendance decreased drastically.  Similar to St. John Cantius in Chicago, St. Michael in Wausau, and St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis (the latter two I need to write articles for someday) an enthusiastic community giving the Latin Mass arrived and gave St. Stanislaus new life.  The restoration plans should only help bolster the local church community and the surrounding neighborhood.

St. Stanislaus stands next to its former school building, just off of Historic Mitchell Street, the "Polish Grand Avenue" of years past.  The street is now thriving as a center of commerce for Milwaukee's Hispanic community.

With over 150 different sites to visit, Doors Open Milwaukee has been an increasing success in each of its four years.  Catholic sites have been a mainstay in the event since its beginning, and I can only anticipate that this will continue.  It certainly is a great way to break out of one's shell for a weekend and see how other churches, businesses, landmarks, and the people that run them in Milwaukee go about their existence.

Also, a great article describing the upcoming restoration at St. Stanislaus can be see here from Bobby Tanzilo at

Additional Sources and a Disclaimer
I have been volunteering and been enthusiastic about the effort that Doors Open Milwaukee and its mother organization, Historic Milwaukee, Inc. have made for over two years now.  Certainly I believe their annual event is worth attending, along with the numerous other programs that Historic Milwaukee, Inc. puts on.

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