So Minnesota: St. John’s Abbey Church

Many churches across our state have stained glass windows.

The stained glass window at St. John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville can truly take one’s breath away.

When the church was built 60 years ago, it had the largest stained glass window in North America.

“Just the sheer size was mind-blowing,” Brother Paul Vincent Niebauer said. “It’s extraordinary.”

After the school’s original 1892 church became too small, the monks wanted to build a bigger church.

They hired architect Marcel Breuer to build a church that would be truly an architectural monument to the service of God.

“Benedictines tend to build big,” Niebauer said. “He really challenged the monks and the monks challenged him right back.”

The church took two years to complete and opened in 1961. Its defining feature is the stained glass window.

Editors note: this story originally aired Aug. 2, 2021.