Guardian Angel Catholic Church

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013I mentioned yesterday in the Tour de Oran that photos of the Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran would be coming. Well, here they are. The first photo shows a white house on the left that Readers Madeline DeJournett and Samantha K identified as the priest’s house. Ms. K answered my question about why the house was so large: the sisters of the church lived there when the church still had sisters.

The outside is impressive

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013

The brickwork and detail on the outside of the church, with a cornerstone that displays MCMXVI – 1916 for the Roman Numeral challenged – is beautiful. I don’t see how a small town like Oran could have supported such an impressive building. What’s interesting is that Oran, unlike so many other small towns, has actually picked up a few residents between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,264 people, 507 households, and 353 families in the Oran. By the 2010 census, the numbers had increased to 1,294 people, 518 households, and 360 families. That’s not a lot, but it reverses what I would have thought would be the trend.

Inside is breathtaking

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013Just by the luck of the draw, I happened on to the Catholic churches in Oran, New Hamburg and Kelso on our wanderings. All were impressive, but this was by far and away the most impressive and most tastefully done.

The other thing that surprised me was that none of the churches were locked. That is refreshing.

Organ pipes

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013

I’ve seen lots of church organ pipes. I’ve never seen any decorated like these. I couldn’t find much of the history of the church on the Internet, so I’m counting on you to share your memories of the place. If I had wanted to, I could have spent all day photographing the details of the place, but I felt a little uncomfortable wandering around without telling anyone what I was doing.

Photo gallery of Oran’s Guardian Angel Catholic Church

This is a far cry from the Old McKendree Chapel between Cape and Jackson. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.


15 Replies to “Guardian Angel Catholic Church”

  1. There is a truck trailer manufacturing plant in Oran, Manac I believe, that has been expanding and is certainly responsible for some of the town’s growth. There is a route ‘A’ that connects Chaffee and New Hamburg. Then take County Road 234 West and South to Oran. A very nice curvy motorcycle ride.

  2. Beautiful church! Thanks for the wonderful photos and descriptions of such a variety of places. I always feel I am traveling along with you.

  3. Wow! Who would have thought Oran would have such a beautiful place… So lets see what you cna uncover in Chaffee…

  4. The priest who built the rectory (priest’s residence) was Fr. Michael Helmbacher. He wanted to have the largest house in town, in part because many priests came to visit for the annual 40 Hours Devoation prayer celebration held annually at that time. If I recall correctly, Fr. Helmbacher also had the first car and the first phone in town.

    1. Thanks, John, for the info. Brother Mark (familial Brother, not religious brother) is coming down tomorrow. He’s going to play plumber at Mother’s house, so you might want to check on the status of the Ark. We might need it.

  5. Father John Harth would certainly know about the church, since he was the priest there for years. Did I mention that he married my son Matthew and his lovely wife Laura (Spears) in 2002??? They now have two lovely children, who are the light of my life! (He did a good job!)
    My students at Oran told me that the beautiful murals in the church were once painted over in that period of time when the Catholic Church was being criticized for being “too ornate.” The murals were restored later, when the church leaders came to their senses… Not being Catholic, I don’t remember which Pope was in office at the time.
    Thank you for the tour of this very special church! There is another one close by in Kelso. It isn’t as spectacular as Guardian Angel, but it’s ever so much more elegant than the newer ones in Advance, Benton, and Scott City. I haven’t seen the one at Chaffee.
    The old Catholic church in Advance has been renovated and now serves the Pentecostal community.
    These old churches cannot be duplicated or replaced! They are community and historic treasures!

    1. Brother Mark and John Harth worked together at KFVS-TV way back in time.

      I received an email from another church historian who talked about the church “simplification” movement and how parishioners were said to have hidden statuary in their homes and barns for years.

  6. Well Ken, thanks to finding your web page today I am not getting much work done. I was married at Guardian Angel in May 1980 and that was during the time everything was painted over. The church walls were a light green color. So glad the murals are back. It is a beautiful church. When I attended Guardian Angel grade school the nuns lived across the street in their own house (convent). If I remember right it was torn down early 80’s.

    1. I figured one of the reasons Bill Gates included Solitaire with every computer was to keep people wasting time they might otherwise use to come up with a competing product for Windows.

      I am proud to be provide an equal blow to productivity.

      By the way, the program has a weird quirk. If you’ve been to a page before, you sometimes (most of the time) have to press Ctrl-F5 to refresh your browser to see any new comments that have been left.

      Keep poking around. No telling what you might find.

  7. I just read that you hit Kelso’s, St. Augustine too. I’ll have to admit that this one is far more “elegant” than St. Augustine. I’d never been in Oran’s so I was take by surprise. Great pics, Ken!!!

  8. I failed to mention that there is no longer a pipe organ in use. The pipes you see were spiffed-up and placed for decorative purposes.

  9. My Great Grand parents, Daniel Kappler and Ida Elizabeth Gangle Kappler, raised their family in Oran and i believe were part of this church. My Great Grand mother, is buried in the Old Guardian Angels cemetary. Does the church retain baptismal and marriage and death records? she died around 1906 and vital statistics tells me there are no death certificates from that time. any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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