Thursday Doors

St. Fidelis

In the late 1800’s, the Capuchin Franciscan Friars used ten acres of land donated by the Kansas Pacific Railway Company in Victoria, Kansas, to build St. Fidelis Church.

St. Fidelis was built to serve the Catholic Volga-German immigrants who had fled southern Russia and settled in the area. My husband’s grandparents and great-grandparents were part of this Volga-German community.

Native limestone blocks weighing from 50 to 100 lbs. each were used to build the church. The blocks were quarried from the local area, and each parishioner was required to haul six wagon loads of stone from the quarry to the church.

Inside these rather utilitarian doors (see Dan’s Q&A in the comments) is a truly exquisite building. There are stunning stained glass windows and beautiful altars.

StainedGlass Collage

Altars Collage

Victoria, Kansas has a population of approximately 1,200 and is located 1 mile south of Interstate 70 in central Kansas, 129 miles northwest of Wichita and 243 miles west of Kansas City.

2016-04-23 11.22.48Victoria is not exactly a tourist attraction, but it certainly draws people off Interstate 70 as they travel between Denver and Kansas City.

One mile is not far to go to see St. Fidelis Church. It is open 365 days a year with seating for 1,100, and mass is celebrated daily.

When he visited in 1912, William Jennings Bryan gave it the nickname, Cathedral of the Plains.

In 2014, St. Fidelis was named a minor Basilica.

My husband grew up less than 8 miles from this beautiful landmark so on our recent trip it was definitely on our list of stops. If you are ever in the area, I’d highly recommend taking a few minutes to visit St. Fidelis.


And, if you’ve ever thought about living in a rural small town like Victoria, just remember they keep things simple and practical. For instance:

SIREN BLASTS:       Please Post Near Telephone

  • 1 Blast – at noon and 9:00 pm everyday, and 6:45 on Fire Department meeting nights
  • 2 Blasts – Fire South of 8th Street
  • 3 Blasts – Fire North of 8th Street
  • 4 Blasts – Rural Fire
  • The attack warning signal is a 3 to 5 minute wavering tone.
  • The tornado warning signal is a 3 to 5 minute steady tone.
  • The all clear signal is 5 short blasts.

If you like doors, check out Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, 05/05/16.

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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32 Responses to Thursday Doors

  1. Dymoon says:

    stained glass !!!


  2. Dan Antion says:

    I love the stained glass and the interior photos. The church is magnificent. Do you know if the doors are original? They do seem a bit out of place in the grand opening. Having driven through the midwest. I can tell you that I’d take any recommended diversion from the straight-flat highway. This looks like a winner.

    Here’s hoping for 5 short blasts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do not know the history of the doors but I’ll see if I can find out. Yes, a break on I70 is a good thing, and this is a beautiful stop. Yes, I too would hope for the 5 short blasts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, the church was kind enough to answer the question. The original doors were wooden, but the church faces west and there was a lot of upkeep. They have been talking about replacing them with something that looks more original. Since it is now designated a Basilica, the Bishop is in favor of bronze doors but they could cost around $500,000. Beautiful but expensive. They are still looking at options. Good question and prompt answer. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dan Antion says:

        Wow – thanks for asking and passing that on. West facing doors are hard to maintain, particularly with them being so large. If they didn’t have to be custom, I’d go with fiberglass, but I doubt that’s an option, unless there’s a Church Depot around there.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. joannesisco says:

    Beautiful stained glass windows! They really are works of art.

    I came from a small town with a siren that had only 2 blasts – a short one at 9 pm curfew (every child in town knew that one) and a long one meaning fire.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful church, Judy! But I especially love the end of your post – have never heard of an alarm system like that!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Must be an expensive building to maintain for such a small community. Very beautiful stained glass. The siren list is interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Joyce says:

    It’s amazing how well those immigrants worked together to create such timeless works of solid beauty. Our German heritage church is also a basilica. Our Lithuanian one, founded by my grandparents’ generation, had a row of chestnut trees that my grandfather helped plant. As an elementary student at the parish school, my sisters and I collected nuts to bring home, backpacks stuffed full, to play with. The parish priest requested a $300 per family donation to fund the organ during the time grandpa worked in a furniture factory. Mother said he was one of the few to pay his debt off. That amount must have been the equivalent of $3,000 or more today. I wonder how every family would accept that request in this day and age?
    I love seeing St. Fidelis, inside and out, and I can sense the reverent dedication of those who worked together to construct it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our ancestors made true sacrifices to create a better life for their families – they didn’t just go without wifi for an hour. Applause to your grandparents and my husbands because their contribution to a better society is still standing and providing comfort to many people.


  7. Norm 2.0 says:

    Very rare to see metal doors like that on such a gem of a church. Love all that stained glass and interior photos too. Good post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Laurie Graves says:

    What a church! And in such a small community. Love the notion of a blasts sheet. I, too, would be listening for five short blasts.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. joey says:

    I’m wowed by that stained glass. I generally swoon over stained glass. Just WOW! That church is magnificent. I love the unusual doors.
    I had forgotten all about siren blasts. Siren blasts are a blast from the past!
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Required to haul six wagon loads of stone! I think I would have become an Atheist. 😉 Beautiful building and stained glass windows, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jesh stg says:

    What a contrasts – the doors are utterly simple while the stained glass is so intricate! Chuckled at the number of the siren blasts – one needs a good memory!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    “each parishioner was required to haul six wagon loads of stone from the quarry to the church” – how things got done before the internal combustion engine! Love the blast chart – that’s rural life!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh Judy this is just stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. reocochran says:

    I enjoyed seeing this church with all of the astounding beauty held within! The doors are really pretty, I don’t mind their being metal. I like the solution given of protection from storms. I also liked the arches and the notches above the doors. This is a pretty church and always enjoy seeing the doors you post!
    I love looking out of stained glass windows more than into them. So, thanks for letting us see the inside and then, sharing the view through the magnificent colorful stained glass, Judy!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Definitely worth the trip, Judy. Magnificent windows. Remember drills for bombs, sitting in the hall or under desks. Can’t remember right now what they were called, but I doubt they would have done much good, especially in the case of nuclear attacks!


    Liked by 1 person

  16. pommepal says:

    Such beautiful stained glass and the doors do look kind of temporary ones…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh my it’s gorgeous! I go there in a heartbeat and photograph it. If I lived near there I’d go often during different times of the day to photograph it. WOW! Lovely post this week Judy!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oddment says:

    What stories churches tell!

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. KerryCan says:

    I think I’ve said this before but I like how, instead of just posting a picture for these photo challenges, you tell the story behind the photo, too. It’s so interesting how these plain doors fail to give a sense of the grandeur behind them!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. What a beautiful find! It’s amazing what treasures some towns hold!! We moved from Sewall’s Point, Florida which was within the evacuation zone of the St. Lucie nuclear power plant. There would occasionally be a siren test and we’d always stop to listen for “this is only a test”. Boy, that comment was always a relief!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thanks for sharing this beautiful “Cathedral of the Plains” with us. My brother-in-law and his family live in St. Mary’s, Kansas which is (as I understand it) a small, somewhat old-fashioned Catholic community. I wonder if it’s near Victoria.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Grandma Kc says:

    What an amazing building! I just love stained glass windows, I think they are the best part of most churches! Love the interior of that one! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It’s beautiful and I would definitely go out of my way to see it. I love to see the beauties that are hidden in small towns.

    Liked by 1 person

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