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Painted Churches

From the outside, they look like many American country churches built around the turn of the last century — arched Gothic Revival windows, facades clad in white frame siding or in stone, lone steeples rising up into the Texas sky.

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Cross the threshold of these particular Texas churches and you’ll encounter not a simple wooden interior but an unexpected profusion of color. Nearly every surface is covered with bright painting: exuberant murals radiate from the apse, elaborate foliage trails the walls, wooden columns and baseboards shine like polished marble in shades of green and gray. These are the Painted Churches of Texas.klru.org

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St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption (Praha, TX)

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We drove out to Schulenburg a few weekends ago (a good 85 miles east of Austin): Kristen, Amanda, and I.

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We’d all wanted to see the famous ‘Painted Churches’, and I had put it on my list after seeing a coworker’s photos and being amazed that all this art was real. In little Catholic churches. In the middle of Texas.

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We ate lunch at Schulenburg’s Sengelmann Hall (which meant potatoes with cheese for me, what with schnitzel being so deliciously covered in gluten).

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If you go to the Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce, they’ll sell you a map for $4 and let you know which (if any) of the churches are closed for weddings or other events. The Painted Churches are a big deal here, a huge draw for tourists and a beautiful display of local history. The four churches we visited that day were all within short driving distance of Schulenburg center.

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Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church (Dubina, TX)

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St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Ammansville, TX)

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My delight was with the sons of men. – Proverbs 8:31

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St. Mary Catholic Church (High Hill, TX)

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One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

 – Psalm 27:4