St. Jude's Chapel
Dent County, Mo.
St. Jude’s Chapel sits among the tranquil pines along Highway 119 in Dent County. The log cabin church was built in 1968 by Walter Weber, who once owned the acreage where the chapel is located.
According to the Rev. Dan Hirtz, the chapel’s priest, the owner promised God if his business did well, he would build a little chapel. Weber’s St. Louis-based pump manufacturing business prospered, so he honored his word.
It’s said that Weber modeled his chapel after Silver Dollar City’s Wilderness Church in Branson. Whatever the inspiration, the log chapel, which is served by Intercounty Electric Cooperative, is the perfect spot for a respite any time of day.
Now owned by the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, the well-manicured grounds offer several log benches where visitors may choose to sit and rest. Visitors might want to rest by the tiered water fountain with a statue of St. Jude looking on. Another peaceful repose could be the bench facing a lovely tiled meditation wall located to the left of the chapel.
The bell that hangs in the chapel’s belfry came from the old Sacred Heart Church in Troy. Rev. Hirtz says Weber used to hunt with the leader of the Troy parish. When that church burned, Weber traded a couple of hunting dogs for the old bell.
While the grounds are open to visitors from sunrise to sunset, the log chapel is locked until 30 minutes before mass, which is held each Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Guests walking the grounds usually can hear strains of music coming from a radio inside the chapel. Father Hirtz says this is to ward off squirrels who also seem to enjoy the chapel.
St. Jude’s Chapel is located 18 miles southwest of Salem on Highway 119, just outside Montauk State Park. You may reach Rev. Hirtz at 573-729-4291.