Treasure in the Desert: Destination Chapel of the Holy Cross
Jutting out from the Red Rock Buttes of Sedona is the epitome of architectural genius. Many try and achieve this stunning crown but few will master what sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude inspired with the help of Richard Hein and August K Strotz in 1956.
Commissioned over a half a century ago it’s hard to imagine this awe inspiring contemporary design style came out of that period.
The approach is designed in a way that you spiral up from around base. This creates an awareness of the forms of the site and building. It appears everything is done to achieve the tranquility of the area.
Marguerite described her commission as “Through the Catholic in faith, as a work of art the chapel has a universal appeal. It’s doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men and be a living reality.” It is truly not hard to see God in this place
As I toured I was inspired that people from all over the world, and of all faiths came to see this incredible witness to some of the beauty within Catholicism. Built on solid rock it not only is beautiful but it figuratively ties to the Catholic faith. The giant cross within the structure stands out across the lower valley as a symbol of faith and beauty and it inspires awe in our Creator.
The Chapel holds no regular services as it once did and now it is intended to be a place of reflection and meditation. The sign upon entering simply states “Peace to all who enter”.
Upon entering you are presented with a simplistic design style. It has some pews and unique artwork but really nothing competing with the architectural element meant to inspire peace. Truly you can see the inspiration she had of “Finding God through Art”.
There was some debate over the Corpus that originally was hung in the chapel but that is a tale for another time. It has been replaced with the face of Christ a somewhat subtle but thought provoking piece appropriately placed above the tabernacle.
I left the Chapel of the Holy Cross with a sense of peace but also with a beautiful reflection of the many people that came each finding beauty in the Catholic faith through Art. It reminded me of a quote from St. Francis “Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words.”