St. Benedict's Abbey and Church - Atchison, Kansas
St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, Kansas is the local center of the Catholic Order of St. Benedict, a global religious community whose first members arrived in Atchison in 1858. The present Abbey was built in 1928 and is the home of the monks who provide faculty and administration for Benedictine College. The Abbey is private and cloistered.
The Abbey Church was completed in 1957 and serves the students of Benedictine College, which was founded in 1971 through the merging of St. Benedict's College for men (1858) and Mount St. Scholastica College for women (1923). The church has multiple services each day and is open to the public between services.
The Abbey Church was designed by Bart Byrne, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. It is 270' long and 118' wide, with a 44' high ceiling in the nave. It has seating in the nave for 650 and seating in the choir for 174. The Abbey Church replaced the building which now serves a parish as St. Benedict's Catholic Church, just a few blocks away.
The church exterior is Winona limestone. The interior is Indiana limestone with Kasota buff fleuri and terrazzo floors. The altars are made of marble from Alabama, Vermont & Italy, and the pews, choir stalls and woodwork are white oak. The Abbey Church was designed to be resemble a ship with the fresco at the stern and entrance at the bow. The tower is the mast and the pews in the nave are like planks built for sailors who row for Jesus Christ.
The church has several chapels for smaller gatherings.
copyright 2017 by Keith Stokes