Thursday, April 11, 2013

Travel Highlight: St. Elizabeth of Hungary

My husband and I travelled to the Ozarks to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary last weekend. We stayed at the Big Cedar Lodge outside Branson, and left that sanctuary of rest and relaxation to drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. There we visited the Crescent Hotel and then crossed the street to this fascinating church, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. The parish church was originally built as a memorial chapel and then expanded, with two architectural styles combined. The memorial chapel is byzantine, while the nave and sanctuary are romanesque-gothic.

The church is unique because you enter through the bell tower and descend to the church.

The interior of the original chapel is dominated by a great crystal chandelier, a late 20th century gift.

And here is a view of the nave and sanctuary--there is a balcony (you can see the rails to the left and right) with additional seating so that the church has room for 200 worshippers.

The statuary in the church came from the former parish church dedicated to the Sacred Heart and a hospital, Hotel Dieu, while the benefactor, Richard Kerens (who had built the original chapel in memory of his mother) imported many fine furnishings, according to the parish website:

The existing chapel became the vestibule of the church, with all the exterior construction material of dolomite limestone supplied by local quarries. Kerens imported marble altars and mosaic flooring from Italy. Paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross were donated by the parishioners. Four pieces of statuary taken from the Sacred Heart Church and Hotel Dieu – statues of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and two kneeling angels – were moved to the new Church. These fine pieces of turn-of-the-century statuary still have their home in the interior of the church today.

Here's a picture, taken with my cellphone camera (my husband took the other pictures either with his Canon or Fuji) of one of the Stations of the Cross, which are sometimes combined with the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Here's some more detail about the church, addressing its architectural uniqueness. Catholics are a minority in Arkansas (only 6% of the population) so a beautiful church like this, with such care and devotion on display throughout its small footprint--the grounds contain additional statuary and a lovely view of the residential area surrounding the church--is really a blessing.

You can see the Crescent Hotel to the left in the photo above. St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us!


  1. What a great story. We were unaware of this Church and will consider adding it to our list of Catholic sites in the U.S.

  2. You're welcome, Gloria! It's a gem and well worth the visit.