‘St. Catherine’s Church’ house auctioned

Posted May 23, 2013 at 5:00 am

j St. Catherines Church house sold 05-11-2013.tif

By Julie Ann Madden

Some dreams don’t become reality.

“It was our baby pet project,” said owner Joni Vondrak of rural Sioux City, about Westfield’s St. Catherine’s Catholic Church that she and her husband, Chris, had purchased and moved to the former buffalo farm at 23775 K-18 North in rural Westfield.

The Vondraks, used the church structure as the formation for a great room of their new home where its stained glass windows reflected the sun off the Loess Hills prairie surrounding the home.

They finished the exterior of the home, which featured four bedrooms with two bathrooms in the lower level and the master bedroom on the main level with the great room, kitchen, dining room, den, mudroom and breezeway which leads to a three-car garage. The choir loft remains intact as well as another loft was created above the area where the church’s altar had once stood.

They also installed geothermal heat and completed drywalling the interior walls throughout the home and wiring and plumbing was installed but not completely hooked up.

Then their work came to a halt as the sale of their current home fell through and the economic Recession hit the housing industry, said Joni, adding they also realized that having their children drive from the buffalo farm location to Sioux City schools every day would be taxing.

The family decided to stay in their Sioux City home, ending the dream of turning the St. Catholic Church into their dream home.

On Saturday, Bruce Brock of Brock Auction Co. Inc. managed the auction.

About 40 people came to the auction — most to have a final view of their beloved church which now sets on 3.9 acres atop a hillside, surrounded by cattle pasture and ponds owned by Ed Ritz of rural Westfield.

Within a short while, the home was bought by Justin Leonard of North Sioux City, S.D.

He told The Akron Hometowner he plans to finish the home and live in it. Leonard is also of the Catholic faith, giving those who cherish the church structure hope it will retain some of its religious charm.

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