St Boniface – Temporary History on the Survival of a Massive Region Church in Rural Kansas

The St Boniface Church and Cemetery is located in Scipio, KS, a modest hamlet between the towns of Richmond and Garnett, and two-miles east of Freeway-fifty nine. This Catholic church with its 160′ copper steeple and its stained-glass home windows is uniquely massive for a region church, also having an equal-in-duration rear ‘L’ wing that is at this time a rectory and retreat merged. At just one time this two-story limestone wing was a monastery for twenty five Carmelite friars, who built the present-day limestone church, and who subsistence farmed/gardened up to 600-acres around it.

Authentic Church

In the mid 1850’s, a handful of Jesuit missionaries served the Native People in america in japanese Kansas. And then, from these missionaries needs, these natives had been moved even more south. At about the exact time, various immigrants had been taking up farm land in the Scipio area, most of them German Catholics.

Simply because the Scipio group needed its personal church lousy, two outstanding users of this community prevailed upon the bishop in Leavenworth for their personal priest. They obtained a the moment-a-month viewing missionary as an alternative. Nonetheless, for the reason that his unannounced visits did not operate nicely, they prevailed on the bishop all over again, who paid them a take a look at. Soon after observing the practically forty devoted family members of religion and suggests dwelling there, he assigned them a lasting priest.

The community then built their new resident priest a modest dwelling and log-church on twenty-acres of donated land. It was devoted in the spring of 1859. St Boniface would be the only Catholic church in Anderson county for twenty five several years. Nonetheless, this condition would improve in time as its encompassing large image produced.

Outgrowing It

In 1865, St Boniface was turned about to the Carmelite Order, a massive buy of friars with German roots. This Order gave the parish a large increase in membership. In 1869, the railroad arrived close by. By the 1870’s, the parish experienced outgrown its log church, which was also broken by a prairie fire. With a lot more family members in the parish now, plans had been begun for a new church on top of the hill, west of the log just one.

In 1873, their head friar purchased the design of a log body Carmelite monastery which would also provide as Mt Carmel University parallel to what would later grow to be the present-day church. For a even though, the church companies would be held in this body monastery, even though the new church was getting built.

Sooner or later, this upcoming building arrangement would give the full facility a massive ‘U’ condition experiencing west when finished. The design ongoing with a just one-room parochial faculty, a community hall, and a Ursuline Sisters dwelling north of the proposed church. In the meantime, the friars and lay-folks having stonemason abilities hewed and stockpiled their personal limestone blocks for the planned 1881-built church. Its cornerstone was laid in 1882.

By this time, the Carmelites experienced enhanced their land holdings to 600 acres. The brothers farmed/gardened it, which bundled a ten-acre vineyard and vineyard. They also built a huge rectangular purple barn and sheds for dairy cows, livestock, hay, grain storage, and machines. No doubt, they experienced a smoke house and locations for butchering, canning, and performing laundry.

Times Modified

Simply because the township encompassing Scipio is on a region road between Highways fifty nine & 169, it never integrated. Only a several residences continue being there right now. Other Catholic churches sprang up in the close by towns of Richmond, Garnett, and Greeley, all a few of them on chaotic highways that arrived into getting in time.

The body college closed, and was sooner or later torn down. The parochial faculty also closed. So did the close by railroad, which later turned a 51-mile rail-trail. Numerous friars and Ursuline sisters/lecturers still left for other locations. The farming stopped. The land was rented out for a even though, but was sooner or later bought. A storm wrecked the large Carmelite barn, and the populace in the close by towns enhanced.


St Boniface continue to has about 60 energetic family members in its parish right now. Its Easter and Christmas companies have standing-room-only attendance. Its college-building spot is turned into a meditation backyard with a fountain. Its limestone monastery has been retrofitted into a rectory and modern day a few-unit retreat for monks and many others needing silent healing. It really is identified as Elijah’s Relaxation.

Two friars live in the rectory, the place they provide the church. The historical cemetery is continue to applied, and sits the place the primary log-church stood. Travelers take a look at this church and its nicely-retained cemetery. Its doorways are constantly open. For specific information and facts on this church, see the booklet below.


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