A Map of SMAC Campus

A new commission is a great honor, but an even greater honor the commission is from one’s alma Mater.

An evening view of the Quad

That Alma Mater is St. Mary’s Academy and College in St. Marys, KS.

St. Mary’s Academy and College, located along the Oregon Trail in St. Mary’s, KS, is an old Jesuit campus. 

In 1848, the campus was founded and became home to Pottawatomie boys and girls as a boarding school. Later the campus transitioned to a boarding school for boys, became a retreat center and finally turned into a Jesuit seminary after 1931. The campus of St. Mary’s was then closed, deserted in 1967 as the crisis in the Catholic Church caused a decline in priestly vocations.  

Ignatius Hall, aka the Auditorium, aka The Big Gym

Back in its heyday St. Mary’s produced young men such as Gutzon Borglum who went on to carve Mount Rushmore. Spencer Tracy was another son of St. Mary’s, as well as Lt. William T. Fitzsimons, the first American officer  to die in World War One.

The Niche and view from Bellarmine

The campus slept for nearly 30 years, until the Society of St. Pius X, a religious order dedicated to the preservation of the tradition of the Church and the priesthood, purchased the campus in 1978.

Autumn highlights around Bellarmine

St. Mary’s Academy, founded in 1978, St. Mary’s College, founded in 1981 has awakened the campus.

Now today as you walk through campus, historic limestone buildings rise above beautiful pedicured grounds where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered at least three times a day uniformed students and teachers, Catholic priests and sisters interact on a daily basis.

The Infirmary, now the Convent

As campus continues to grow, it has become necessary to have a map showing visitors and new community members the layout of St. Mary’s Academy and College.

The style of this map is to be more of a picturesquenstorybook style; this will capture the beauty of the historic campus.

The “aha!” sketch.

Preparing to paint the map has started with studying google satellite maps, sketching out various layout possibilities, and my favorite, plein air sketching and painting of the campus buildings in order to know them better.

Prepping for the Initial Watercolor sketch

Now, a few tweaks and more details added, and the initial sketch will be ready to paint. After the initial sketch is approved, it’ll be time to start on the final 22″x30″ painting!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, please give this post a like, and follow my blog! God bless you and have a great weekend.


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