Church Research, Holy Thursday and Blogging

A note on my poor blog – Hazel is a great theme, it just takes forever to load. So, I changed the theme once again, to the tried and true Thesis theme I know so well. And it wouldn’t work properly. So I changed it back again after much irritation, which caused me to change the name of the blog again and wonder about life in general. But – it doesn’t matter. One day it will be trim and sleek, and that day is not today.

Looking high and low for facts about the history of St. Jane Church I realized one major thing.

Prayer helps.

Now this should be obvious to me, a Priest, and I have been praying about it. The entire project is also entrusted to St. Joseph. So, what could go wrong?

A few facts, because I love lists:

  • St. Jane de Chantal was the first brick church built on the northshore. (So I’ve read – this may be disproven after more reading.)
  • St. Jane Church, and every building in the historic district of Abita Springs, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Some of the renovations at St. Joseph Abbey qualified for a 20% grant if they were done as historic renovations/restorations. It doesn’t have to be exact – everything’s not a museum. So it’s vaguely possible St. Jane Church might qualify for something like that.
  • Learning about that led to researching the Architect of the Church, from the cornerstone. The architect was Theodore Brune.
  • Theodore Brune built a number of Churches in the Archdiocese (including Mater Dolorosa, which is gorgeous). He also built St. Joseph Abbey.
  • About an hour of googling revealed that the plans for St. Jane are held in the Southeast Architectural Archive at Tulane University.
  • I photographed all of the blueprints. They’re fascinating, but not very helpful for the interior.
  • A new search yesterday revealed the postcard above, which is of Our Lady of the Lake, in Mandeville, back when the Church was wooden, and before it burned down.
  • Theodore Brune built the new Church at Our Lady of the Lake in the early 50’s.
  • Our Lady of the Lake, like St. Jane de Chantal, was staffed and managed by the Benedictines at St. Joseph Abbey in Covington. So it would make sense that they would get the furnishings from the same place, as they were furnished (St. Jane and the old OLL church) around the same time period (early 20’s.)
  • The photo above reveals that the altar and statuary, which look almost exactly the same as the old altar and statuary at St. Jane, were made by the Daprato Co., in Chicago. They still exist.
  • I emailed to see if they might have made our altar.
  • They emailed right back asking for a picture.
  • I sent them a picture.
  • They said “Yep.”
  • And the rest is future.

      It’s an exciting discovery, though we’re not quite sure what to do with it. They’re emailing an estimate over to redo the parts of the altar which were removed.

      And with that, it’s Holy Thursday. Prayer, preparations, fasting. +

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