ST. LOUIS — While most Catholic churches are bordered by manicured lawns and shrubs, historic St. Louis Church here stands a few feet from a corn field.
For more than a century, the acre between the 132-year-old house of worship and the parish hall has been used for crops, not show.
"It just is natural around here," says 81-year-old Anita Ferschweiler, whose husband Cy farmed the ground for decades as part of the family holdings. When the church bells would ring at noon each day, Cy would pause, remove his cap and pray. Crops would include grass seed, wheat, beans and corn.
Cy Ferschweiler's parents purchased the field in 1902. Now Anita and Cy's son Bob oversees the land, renting it out to local growers.
"Out in this area, every little spot needs to be farmed," Anita explains. "It's how you make your living."
The Ferschweilers have always taken special care with the church field, making sure it's neat and clean. That way, neighbors can feel better on Sundays when they come to Mass.