There is an old saying,

"God created the Grand Canyon, but he lives in Sedona."

One trip to Sedona and you know it has to be true.

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Visit Sedona's Chapel Of The Holy Cross

One of the most visited spots in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The architecture alone is worth the visit. Rising 200 feet from the ground, it rests amongst the red rocks.

This is one of my favorite places in Sedona. The views are just amazing and you can feel the forgiving energy as soon as you arrive.

Marguerite Brunswig Staude not only paid for this chapel to be built but she also designed this it after being inspired in 1932 but it would not be completed until 1957.

Marguerite was the youngest of 5 children and born to wealthy parents. Her father owned Brunswig Drug Company. As she grew up she broke her ties from her wealthy family and studied and traveled all over the world. Then while she was studying art in NY and as she gazed on the Empire State Building she had her first vision of what would eventually become the Chapel Of the Holy Cross. It was Ash Wednesday 1932.

She returned to California and sought the advice of Llyod Wright, Frank Llyod Wright's son. The two of them worked to design the Chapel together. Originally she wanted to build the Church in Budapest but WWII put an end to that.

In 1938 she married her husband, Tony Staude and by this time Margurerite was already a known sculptor. She spent much of her time teaching wounded soldiers how to sculpt and also taught blind people as well.

Her husband's family had a ranch known as " Doodlebug Ranch" and she vacationed in Sedona from 1940 until 1960. During the 40's both of her parents had passed away and her mother wanted a "living spiritual trust" and that was when she decided that the Chapel should be built. At the time Sedona was a sleepy little town with about 800 residents.

She had to fly to New Mexico to speak with the Bishop of the Diocese about building the Church. He was against the idea and told her so. He wanted her to build a small Church and give the rest of the money to the Indians. He finally he gave her permission.

Then she had to go to Washington DC because the land was on government land. Senator Barry Goldwater was already their friend so he gave permission.

April 1955 they broke ground on the Chapel. It took 18 months to build the Chapel and each of the 25,000 tons of rock removed was done so by hand. They didn't use any dynamite because they didn't want to disturb the area. So 4 men spent 6 weeks drilling a series of holes and would hand chip away each piece of rock.

The cost to complete the structure was $300,000. This amount was low because the architects and the construction company reduced their fees. The Contruction company that was chosen was Willaim-Simpson Construction from California.

The Sculptures that you will see inside were all done by Marguerite herself. The stations of the cross are made from antique nails.

Here is a very short video of the inside of the Chapel. You can see the sculpture Marguerite made of Jesus's face and a few other sculptures she made.

Excerpts of the NPS history:

"Marguerite Brunswig Staude (1899-1988), a sculptress, originally presented her idea for a 500-foot, block-wide cathedral to Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright's son, in the 1930s. Although the design was finally accepted by nuns in Hungary, World War II prevented construction. In 1950, Staude contacted Wright again with plans for a much smaller chapel, but the architect refused to proceed with any but the original design. Kate Rutland Thorne, "Upon This Rock, Marguerite Brunswig Staude and her Sedona Chapel," (West Sedona, Arizona: Chapel of the Holy Cross, 1995)."

"An article describing the residence inspired Marguerite Brunswig Staude to contact Anshen and Allen about the possibility of building her dream chapel in Sedona, Arizona. [31] The architects must have been intrigued when Staude, a sculptress, showed them her sketches of a Roman Catholic Church inspired by Rockefeller Center, a version of which was almost constructed for Hungarian nuns on Mount Ghelert in Budapest. Anshen and Allen began working on the chapel project in 1953. [32] Staude not only financed the chapel, but also provided accommodations for the architects at her Doodlebug Ranch in Sedona. When it was time to find an appropriate site, Staude, her husband, and the architects flew over the local hills in search of the perfect location. This type of collaboration between architect and client would also occur in the firm's work for the National Park Service."

When you visit the Chapel you will see that most people expect to find the Chapel as just another charming site. Often people are surprised to find themselves deeply moved by the powerful spirituality emanating from this simple building and its location among Sedona's red rocks.

Volunteers will assist you in parking and then you will walk up a pretty steep incline and meander along a path that leads to the Chapel. If you need assistance in walking a volunteer can drive you in a golf cart to the top of the parking area.

There is no charge to visit the Chapel. There are candles inside that you can light and a donation box is there for the candles. Also please note there are no bathroom facilities at the Chapel.

It is a Catholic Chapel but it welcomes all faiths. Monday at 5:00pm there is a prayer service.

Marguerite once said " The doors of this chapel will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed".

Click Here to Visit The Chapel's Official Site

Click Here to Read About The Chapel Of The Holy Cross

Click Here For More About The Chapel Of The Holy Cross

Click Here to read About The Building Of The Chapel

1 comment:

Andy Wrubel said...

From the moment you spot the chapel coming north on the 179 from VOC, you can tell the Chapel of the Holy Cross is something special. Sedona green