Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Upcoming Event!: Open House at St. Mary's Oratory, Wausau, on September 10th

Courtesy of St. Mary's Oratory.

St. Mary's Oratory, part of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, is opening its doors for tours this Saturday in Wausau, Wisconsin. From 10 am to 3 pm, young adults from the Oratory will be guiding visitors through the church building at the top of each hour. Being one of Wausau's oldest church buildings, St. Mary's is sure to be an architectural treat for those who make the trek!

The Open House coincides with the Wausau Festival of Arts, which brings over 100 professional artists to town to show their crafts.

According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, this building is the oldest in Wausau to be continuously used as a church, dating back to the 1890s.
[1] Built on the site of Wausau's first Catholic church, it was designed by Adolphus Druiding, an architect known for his work on many churches, including Chicago's St. John Cantius.[2]

Left: St. Michael the Archangel
Right: St. Florianus (St. Florian)

As is all too common in many older Midwestern cities, St. Mary's congregation shrunk in size throughout the 20th Century and was threatened with closure. The Institute of Christ King Sovereign Priest was given permission to move to St. Mary's in 1999 and has worked tirelessly to restore beauty to the building.

On my way to a family vacation in Northern Wisconsin in 2014, I stopped by the Oratory unannounced to go to Confession (as Catholics tend to do). At the same time, I was given a wonderful tour of the church by one of the former Canons (priests) at St. Mary's. The photos in this post come from my haphazard attempt to capture the tour. 

Most of the artwork in this post and throughout the church were acquired during the lengthy restoration process and have wonderful stories of their own. To really appreciate the beauty of St. Mary's and hear these stories in-depth, I encourage you to make a visit at the Open House!

St. Mary's Oratory

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