Thursday, July 16


St. Joseph's, Wilmette - Interior Photos

D Mac over at Creative Minority Report was kind enough to send some stunning interior photos of this beautiful church, which I posted on some weeks back. It has one of my favorite nave-and-side-aisle arrangements, and is also distinguished by its distinctive stained glass. "It's so...purple," as a friend who visited the church with me commented, succinctly.

Last time I wrote about it, Daniel Mitsui was kind enough to point out the church's rather surprising backstory, which involves Nazi spies and a real-estate dabbling priest who also doubled as the mayor of Wilmette for three terms in office. Really:
At this same time, Hitler began his alarming rise in Germany. Cardinal Mundelein was of German ancestry and he wanted people to know he held Hitler in utter contempt In a speech in New York, Cardinal Mundelein compared Hitler, who fancied himself an artist, to a house painter or wallpaper hanger and not a very good one at that. Hitler was ridiculed in the international press after the speech. The story is told that Hitler vowed to get even with Cardinal Mundelein and sent agents to Chicago to see if they could uncover some scandal. The only irregularity they discovered was the will of Fr. Netstraeter which had never been executed. Supposedly, Hitler forced the relatives of Fr. Netstraeter who still lived in Germany to sue the Archdiocese in order to embarrass Cardinal Mundelein. Even the Vatican heard of the suit. Fortunately, the case was thrown out of court. Still, the Vatican told Cardinal Mundelein: "build the church." And so on the eve of World War II, the magnificent Church of St. Joseph was built and no expense was spared. It was dedicated by Cardinal Mundelein in late September of 1939. It was to be his last public appearance. The Cardinal died suddenly just a few days after the dedication.
(Source).Anyway, enjoy the photos. More stunning shots in this vein can be seen in the book Heavenly City: The Architectural Heritage of Catholic Chicago, which is a fun read and even more fun to look through.

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