Thursday, July 10, 2008
St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Olivia, MN
The final stop I made before arriving at St. John's Abbey was in Olivia, Minnesota at St. Aloysius Church. When I stopped there last year, they were in the middle of a renovation, so I knew I wanted to see the results... and WOW! I would suggest watching this video. It gives one a sense of what was involved in the massive renovation that this church just completed. The actual segment about the church starts at 1:44.
I have visited hundreds of churches, mostly in rural areas and I must say that this church holds pride of place among them. The quality of materials, lack of clutter, and overall design and sense of aesthetics makes this church an absolute gem among rural churches.Furthermore, the recent renovation has only strengthened these impressive qualities. I have never been in a church that has such a warm, yet light and airy feel to it. It's truly something one must experience in person.
A few other things worth pointing out: the building has an amazing acoustic, due in large part to the terrazzo flooring throughout. I would like to hear the Reuter pipe organ at it's full potential in this space. The newly designed baptistry is also worth noting, as well as the fact that all the liturgical furniture (altar, ambo, font) were newly commissioned in Italy specifically for this church.
The exterior holds very true to the italianate architectural style in which the church was built - freestanding campanile, thick ambulatory walls with small windows, and an entrance portico. The exterior is also very rich in glazed terra cotta ornamentation.I will post before and after renovation photos as soon as I find them!