Conserving STM's Stations of the Cross


August 31, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

If you notice that some of STM’s Stations of the Cross paintings are missing from their niches, don’t worry that we’ve been robbed. For the past nine months, STM’s Sacred Arts Committee has been working with conservation experts at Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC) in Minneapolis on a plan to restore them. 

The 14 Stations are original to the upstairs church and are an important part of our spiritual heritage. They are beautiful works, oil paintings on copper supports, whose compositions were drawn from a famous 1898 series by German artist Martin Feuerstein for St. Anna Church in Munich, Germany.  But, in the 100 years or so since our Stations were installed, they have suffered a good deal of smoke, moisture, temperature, and other environmental damage. Some figures are warped, and most of the Stations have cracking and extreme flaking on the dark blue background behind the figures.


The good news is that they are excellent paintings and can be fixed. We are equally fortunate that MACC, headquartered at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, is nationally known among museums, dealers, and collectors for its conservation work. 

Paintings conservator Rita Berg will be working on them - seven of them at a time – cleaning them, in-painting where pigments are missing, and adding new frames. Our hope is that we’ll have all 14 back in time for Lent, but that date will depend on just how much repair is needed. 

Berg assures us that it will be worth it. In a note to the committee, she wrote about the beauty of the paintings: “I was drawn to the work because of how finely and precisely they were painted. They are like little jewels in terms of their surface quality. The craftsmanship is simply amazing.”

Kay Miller
STM Buildings & Grounds Committee