St. Catherine’s was begun in the summer of 1986 and completed twelve years later. A stained glass window and doors from a church in England inspired the project so that over the years, stone by stone, an edifice was built around them on the banks of Hamestring Creek.
The engineer who built the chapel, Lowell Boynton, used no plans, storing the details in his head during the years the church was under construction.
Lowell built all the scaffolding and designed and welded the crane which stood in the center of the aisle lifting the stone and mortar that formed the walls and roof. The hammer beam trusses supporting the ceiling were taken from large oaks felled in a severe storm in our area and hand-hewn by Lowell with a foot adze the old fashioned way.
Lowell formed the mouldings that frame the windows and Gothic arch, first carving them in clay and building the forms and moulds necessary to make the concrete castings. The spiral staircase was inspired by the Chapel of the Sisters of Loretto in Santa Fe and was built in Pennsylvania. The pews are from a church in Cape Fair, Missouri.
In the fall of 1997 Lowell fell 35 feet to concrete while working on the roof. His survival seemed miraculous and we are deeply thankful for his recovery. Just behind and a little to the east of the chapel is the columbarium, which Lowell built for the family. The dam was designed by Lowell in 1991 to provide a lake and waterfall for the chapel grounds.
The doors of St. Catherine’s are open to all faiths, and those who wish to pray or meditate are welcome. We request only that the Chapel, Barn and grounds be enjoyed quietly and with reverence.