Friday, May 2, 2008

Monsignor Hawes' Churches

Last year Michael, a friend of mine, and I visited Geraldton diocese (about 400 km north of Perth), and visited several churches designed and built by that famous priest, architect and eventual hermit, Mgr Hawes. Here I post only a few of the vast numbers of photos Michael took, and later gave me a copy of.

His masterpiece is the parish church of Our Lady of Mt Carmel and SS Peter and Paul at Mullewa, a small wheatbelt town about 50 to 100 km inland from Geraldton. It makes you gasp when you see it, and flop to your knees when you come inside.

After that church, in my estimation comes next in rank the Cathedral of St Francis Xavier in Geraldton. It, too, has an amazing presence and sense of the sacred.

His third major church is his Gothic-style parish church of Saint Mary in Ara Coeli at Northampton, another country town, this time to the north of Geraldton.

We also paid our respects at the Utekarra Cemetery Chapel, where (having got the key from the Bishop) we were able to uncover the memorial brass of Mgr Hawes on the floor of the chapel: he had planned to be buried there, and had installed his own faux medieval memorial, but in the event he went off to be a Franciscan hermit on Cat Island, where he was buried in a cave instead, there to await the resurrection of the body, and the life of the world to come.

No comments: