"A thing of beauty is a joy forever, its beauty increases, it will never pass away." - John Keats
History of the
The four buildings of the Twin Spires complex are, from north to south: the church, the rectory, the convent, and the school. All four were built by the Immaculate Conception parish, which was originally formed to serve a congregation of German immigrants.
The 1920s school building is now the home of a nonprofit that works with the mentally challenged. Built in the 1870s, the rectory and convent are among the oldest buildings still standing in St. Joseph.
One of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in northwest Missouri, the Immaculate Conception Church was designed by Edmund J. Eckel who designed many of St. Joseph's architectural jewels. It was erected in 1908 after the previous church building was destroyed by fire. Its stained glass windows were imported from Innsbruck, Austria, and are imbedded 18 inches into the walls. They depict the life of Mary, Mother of Jesus, from her birth to her coronation as Queen of Heaven.
The altars were rescued from a nearby parish, called Saints Peter and Paul, which served St. Joseph's Polish community until it closed and merged with the Immaculate Conception parish in 1978. The combined parish adopted the name "Queen of the Apostles" to commemorate both parishes.
The Twin Spires
When the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph decided to close the "Queen of the Apostles" parish, a hue and cry arose against their plan to raze all four buildings and sell the land. Almost overnight, a group of parishioners joined with local preservationists to "save the spires." Within four months, Twin Spires, Inc., had been formed, and the Diocese deeded the buildings, along with a grant of $75,000, to the new group. The City of St. Joseph matched that grant, and the group used the funds to renovate the former school building for lease by a group that works with the mentally challenged. That financial foundation and the efforts of a dedicated group have returned the four-building complex to its former vitality as a community resource. The rectory has been renovated as a group home, and the church building is in great demand as a wedding chapel, meeting place, and concert hall, besides being open to the public as a museum of St. Joseph's multi-faith religious history.
The Holocaust Torah
The partially burned Jewish Torah now on display at Twin Spires was found in a warehouse by Allied forces at the end of World War II, along with several hundred others that had been confiscated and carefully cataloged by the Nazis. Most of the congregations from which the Torahs were seized no longer existed, so an international agency decided to distribute the Torahs to any group who would display them as mute witnesses of the reality of the Holocaust. Temple Adath Joseph applied to be one such group and has placed this Torah on permanent loan to Twin Spires, Inc.
Please visit the Twin Spires website for information about rental of the facility: www.twinspirescathedral.com