Book review by Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, North Dakota
Wald, Tyrase Mack. Portrait of a Church: Sts. Peter & Paul Church. Bismarck, North Dakota: Quality Printing, 1989.
It has been said that the Germans in Russia and from Russia were an uncultured people with little education or appreciation for the finer things in life. This Portrait of a Church book by Tyrase Mack Wald, written in 1989 for the 100th anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo as well as the 100th Anniversary of the State of North Dakota gives the reader a glimpse of the ecclesiastic art that decorates the Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Karlsruhe, North Dakota. The stunning pictures in this book of the 14 hand painted Saint's portraits by the German artist Berthold Von Imhoff gives proof that the humble German Russian homesteaders and farmers appreciated and were willing to fund fine Christian art works in their church.
Along with pictures of the earlier church and the former priests who served the Karlsruhe parish, Tyrase includes a history of the parish and each of the pictured saints. She also includes commonly said prayers in the German language. These German prayers are now mostly forgotten by the younger generations of these early immigrants.
This Portrait of a Church is a real tribute to what humble Germans from Russia could build to honor God.