Mention Texas and the first things that might come to mind are cowboys, horses, oil wells, Tex-Mex and barbecue. Or maybe it’s our love of all things football and our flare for doing things BIG. While all of that is true it only describes a portion of who we are here in the Lone Star State.
The reality is Texas is very diverse culturally. And, one of those cultures I recently experienced is the Czech heritage. I was born in Dallas and have been back in Texas since 1979 and yet, I had no idea what a strong influence Czechoslovakian immigrants had on Central Texas.
First arriving in Texas in the mid-1800’s they built some of the most beautiful European influenced churches I have ever seen. Who knew Texas contained such amazing dwellings for worship? Still in active use,today they are known as the Painted Churches of Texas. My mom, having seen a piece on television about them, encouraged us to take a weekend trip and begin exploring. A total of eight were in the area of Shulenburg which is off of I10 – smack in the middle between San Antonio and Houston.
We were overwhelmed by their beauty and the heritage which has been preserved so lovingly. For this piece I bring you the first two churches we saw located in the towns of Hostyn and Ammansville
Our first stop was not actually one of the painted churches. However, we were in the mood to explore and so we followed the signs to see what was what.
We were not disappointed.
The Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Hostyn had something going on and we did not step inside. That was okay, though, because the outside was enough to make us say, “wow”.
The Lourdes Grotto was the largest.
Smaller grottos dotted the church property.
The cemeteries at each church were similar and different from a typical American style.
From there we went to St. John The Baptist in Ammansville.
As we pulled up we saw a sweet little country church.
The quaint white building gave no hint as to the beauty inside.
The detail was amazing and intricate.
The back of the church – containing the choir loft – was also pretty.
Wandering around this sweet and holy property we were in awe of the magnificence we were experiencing. Knowing we were at the beginning of the tour we couldn’t wait to see what other beauties were out there.
Tomorrow – St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption in Praha, The Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church in Moravia and St. John’s Catholic Church in St. John, Texas