Matt Cashore '94 and Anna Nussbaum Keating '06 | October 27, 2018
It was Father Ron Raab, CSC, ’78, ’82M.Div., ’90M.A. who in 2014 first reached out to my husband, Geoffrey, a parishioner and furniture maker, and asked him to help restore Sacred Heart Church. I knew that the 100-year-old Spanish mission-style building was in disrepair. Sacred Heart, a Holy Cross parish serving a low- to middle-income congregation on the west side of Colorado Springs, was falling apart. The roof leaked, the ceiling tiles were stained, the foundation was faulty, the pews squeaked, the windows were plastic, the carpet was held together by duct tape.
Geoffrey ’00M.A. felt called to the work. His great-grandparents were church builders in the American Southwest. I knew he would do it right and create a cohesive whole, but I also had a sense of what a massive undertaking it would be.
He told me he intended to design and build most of the interior elements of the space: pews, chandeliers, candle stands, sanctuary furnishings, tabernacle, doors, shutters, baptismal font — everything. Even with a team of artists, including Elizabeth Frick LaDuke ’03, to collaborate, I worried Geoffrey was taking on too much.
About that same time, on an anniversary trip, we walked past a beautiful old church in Leadville, Colorado — at 10,152 feet, the highest city in the United States. Annunciation Catholic Church was closed and also in need of restoration, but you could see marble floors through its stained-glass windows. It struck me that people who lived in miner’s shacks built cathedrals at the timberline by hand. Even in the midst of deprivation, hardship and lack of creature comforts, these people valued beauty, truth and goodness.
We used to value sacred space. Today we have more amenities and a much more comfortable lifestyle, but don’t want to take the time and put forth the effort as artists to do it right. I couldn’t say no.
Read more here.