Seeking the Spirit in the Desert

Anxious Bench | 8/12/2019 | Staff
kshama-s (Posted by) Level 3
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Sedona, Arizona, is full of vortexes, as they call them locally, spots where the earth is supposed swirl out life-force energy. “Find out what a vortex is and how it can help you,” the town’s promotional literature invites.

My husband and I learned this when we, this summer, had time to make a day trip. One can’t help but think: what is it with us, with Americans, that the way this luxe locale gilds its lily is to promise the things of the spirit, rather than just scenery and high-end shopping?

Sedona - Travel - Sites - Chapel - Holy

Sedona is more than ordinarily endowed with spiritual travel sites. Among the most noteworthy is a Catholic Chapel of the Holy Cross, rising up out of the red rocks. Its story, according to National Register of Historic places, is pretty straightforward. Marguerite Brunswig Staude imagined a church building with the shape of a cross imposed on it. This ambition was impressed on her by a 1932 vision of the Empire State Building appearing to bear the sign of the cross. She collaborated with Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, and planned for a massive church in Budapest, but the Second World War intervened. Eventually Staude chose the site because she and her husband loved this part of Arizona. Because these lands fell within the Coconino National Forest, Staude required special dispensation, which she obtained through the intercession of Senator Barry Goldwater. The steel and concrete structure was completed in 1956. Staude gifted the chapel to the Catholic church, to honor her parents and the seeking of God through art.

But what a strange story this is. Staude may be commended for wanting to make a whole building in the shape of a cross, but that idea is an old familiar one in ecclesiastical architecture. Taking inspiration for a small holy building...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Anxious Bench
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