St. Patrick's Irish Settlement is located about 15 miles southwest of Des Moines, Iowa. You have to drive several miles of gravel road to get to this rural church.
Set among slightly rolling hills in a pasture like setting, the first thing you notice is how quiet it is. Maybe peaceful is a better word. I noticed this hitching post. There is another one on the other side of the entrance.
Unlike so many large churches, this church is very small. It is made out of wood. It is very simple in all ways.
The church itself is surrounded by wild flowers. I liked these asters.
Located behind the church is a large cemetery. Unlike many grave yards, this one is not crowded. It overlooks a river and rolling hills.
Many of the headstones are quite old.
I noticed the headstone of this young woman. She was only 23. I guess a lot of people died young in the 1800s. A lot of women died while giving birth.
Walking back towards the church it occurred to me that this church and many of these graves had been here since before the Civil War (1860-1864). It made me realize that life is fleeting and that all these people buried here had once lived and dreamed and loved and been full of life, too.
I liked this lace curtain.
What you do NOT see is any mention of Pope John Paul II's visit to this tiny church on October 4, 1979. The pope visited Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Des Moines, Chicago and Washington, D.C. in October, 1979. He came to Iowa to celebrate farming and to be in the breadbasket of the world.
The Pope actually traveled to Des Moines to say mass for over 350,000 people at Living History Farms. But he stopped at this tiny church first. My guess is he liked it.