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Historic stencils are lovingly restored in Hague’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Lang, Terri. "Historic stencils are lovingly restored in Hague's St. Mary's Catholic Church." Emmons County Record, 4 October 2012, 1 & 2.


Douglas Henning of Henning Church and Historical Restorations has been painting in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hague since the first week of July 2012.

The last time the church’s interior was painted was in 1970.

St. Mary’s is one of the nearly 200 churches Henning has painted in the past 40 years.

“This church definitely ranks in my top five category for its beauty,” Henning said.

Henning’s father-in-law, Louis DeNardo, owned the business prior to Douglas. Louis’ father, Luigi DeNardo, was a stone setter in the 1930s and 1940s.

Louis opened his business, DeNardo Decorating, in St. Paul, Minn., in 1955.

After serving his country in 1970, Henning went to work for his father-in-law until his death in 1982. He then opened his business, Henning Church and Historical Restorations, in Forest Lake, a suburb of St. Paul.

In the mid-1980s, Henning’s sons, Brian and Charlie, joined him in his venture, and Brian is now the owner. Douglas and Charlie now work for Brian.

The Hennings started with the ceiling as it needed to be repainted from the water damage it received this past spring. They completed the walls in August.

Parish members also decided to have Henning bring back the beautiful stencil artwork that had been covered over in 1970, and that tedious work is underway. The project will be completed as early as the end of this week.

Henning displays one of the 15 stencils he used in completing the artwork. He has five different back-cuts for the various designs and colors.
Douglas Henning paints from an 18-foot high scaffolding.
Elaborate stencils surround each stained glass window in the church.
Henning used this stencil several times to complete the work. He cleans the stencil with turpentine and wipes it dry to reuse throughout the project.

Reprinted with permission of Emmons County Record.

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