Sweet Dreams, Little Ones

Just thinking about these little headstones brings a tear to my eye. On our tour of the painted churches in Texas we stopped at St Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Dubina. The church was temporarily closed so we wandered through the large cemetery. The original settlers were from Moravia, part of what was Czechoslovakia. In the past, stillborn babies or those who lived just a few days, were usually placed in unmarked graves. Sometimes they were added to the grave of the most recently buried stranger or put in a mass grave for stillborn babies. The congregation of this church have created beautiful little headstones for their ancestor’s babies.

The hand-painted church is small but so pretty. When I gazed at the celestial scene above the altar, I thought that the stars represented all the little souls above. Rest in peace, Otilia, Joseph, Valentine, Carolina, Anton, Felix, Dominic and Wilomena. Sweet dreams to all those little ones who visited earth so briefly.

St Cyril and Methodius Church, Dubina, Texas

Painted Churches, St John the Baptist

This is one of the many beautiful painted churches in central Texas. The early settlers from Czechoslovakia and Germany hand-painted their new places of worship in the style of the places that they came from. The churches are off the beaten track, in rural areas, and a joy to behold. I like to call this one the ‘peach church’ but it is really St. John the Baptist, a Czech Catholic Church, in the hamlet of Ammannsville (closer to San Antonio than Austin but in the central area otherwise known as the hill country).

Not only did the beautiful stained glass windows have Czech names on them but the stages of the cross were also annotated in Czech. It struck me that the original settlers probably only spoke Czech for at least one generation, if not longer. Each community is separate, if only by a few miles. Perhaps they learned German before English to communicate with fellow settlers? It’s remarkable and heart warming that they are so well maintained. The original building dates from 1890, it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1909 and this current building is from 1917.

It was another cloudy but warm day in May. The dark clouds give the church an ominous look as did the thousands of tussock moth caterpillars that covered the church and surrounding area. You couldn’t help standing on them or them dropping on your head – eek! My dopey husband wanted to touch their furry bodies but I stopped him in time. Their cute little fur spikes are poisonous, causing a nasty rash, and no doubt he would have ended up in ER (he is highly allergic to bug bites).

Holy Caterpillars! Zoom in, if you dare….