Church of the Guardian Angel

The painted churches of Texas are among the most beautiful architectural treasures in the Lone Star State. These simple yet elegant structures remain a vital part of the DNA of the small communities they have served for well over a hundred years.
Guardian Angel ChurchEvery detailed feature of these buildings is a lingering testimony to the talent of now-forgotten carpenters and craftsmen — men and women who built something that has outlived them and continues to inspire new generations of the faithful.
Guardian Angel Church BackThe original structure of the Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Wallis was built in 1899 to serve the small Czech community. Sadly, this building was destroyed by a cyclone the following year. Services were held in the homes of parishioners until a second structure was built in 1904.
Guardian Angel SteepleBy 1912, the parish had grown to about 75 families. So, parishioners raised funds for a new building. Wallis builder Jan Bujnoch was hired to build the new structure designed by German architect Leo Dielman of San Antonio. The new building was dedicated on October 21, 1915 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Guardian AngelThe simple Gothic Revival exterior of the white structure is accented by the deep green foliage of the surrounding trees. It is a peaceful setting — the perfect place for a church building. The entry to the building is flanked by a small statue of Christ with His arms extended and a statue of a guardian angel protecting two children.
Guardian Angel Church InteriorThe interior of the building is quite simply magnificent. The arches, the ceiling with its gallery of biblical figures, the wooden pews, and the columns all serve to frame the ornate altar. The statutes of the Stations of the Cross depicting the passion of Christ line the walls on either side of the pews. And the beautiful stained glass windows soften the light that spills into the sanctuary.
Guardian Angel PewsEvery element in this building in some way contributes to creating a peaceful and worshipful setting — a refuge from the outside world. Once inside, I had to take a moment to put my camera down and to just sit and take it all in. To say “they don’t build them like this anymore” would be absolutely true. Most modern church building are functional but lack the inspiring elements of the painted churches.
Guardian Angel AltarThere are lots of great places to visit in the Lone Star State. We certainly have no shortage of natural wonders. But, as you plan your next Texas adventure, consider visiting some of the painted churches in the state. Most of these churches remain open throughout the week and welcome visitors. Enter with reverence. Linger for a while. Depart refreshed by the legacy of faith of our early Texas settlers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s