Thank you for your letter of August 20 and for the enclosed calendar containing pictures of churches which you have recently renovated.
Only yesterday, I was in the Church of St. Francis in St. Paul, Kansas and was struck once again by the beauty of the renovation. I also had the joy several weeks ago to rededicate the renovated Church of St. Joseph in Humboldt.
Your work reflects a great respect for the existing architecture and an appreciation of the role which architecture can play in inspiring the faithful. We deeply appreciate the contribution which you are making to the devotional and liturgical life of our people.
May the Lord continue to bless you and your work.
With prayers and best wishes, I remain.
Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, D. D., J.C.D. Former Bishop Of The Wichita, Ks Diocese Current Bishop Of The Phoenix, Az Diocese
Don Wendt of Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons of Greenwood, Missouri, working with Cliff Foth, and his son, Alex Wendt, have recently completed a four-month long restoration of St Joseph's Church, Leavenworth, Kansas, where I am the pastor. The project began on May 1, 2007, and was completed today.
From the beginning until the end of the project we have been totally pleased with the work and professionalism of Mr. Wendt. I first met with Don in February 2007 and from our first meeting I was impressed with his dedication to his work. Don supervised the entire project, was always on site, and did no other jobs until our work was completed. He began the project on time. He ended the project on time. He continuously kept me informed of the progress of our church restoration. He was clear about the amount of our initial bid and any additional work requested later in the project.
Don Wendt is a true "artist' and approached the painting of our church with creativity and respect for the uniqueness of our church. His suggestion of a color scheme was outstanding and having worked with him on this project, I would never doubt his basic artistic instincts. Unlike many workmen who limit the scope of their endeavors to the minimum they are being paid for, Don always held the 'big picture" in mind. He meticulously executed our church re-painting, seeing each detail as part of the whole He and his workmen were always very gracious to our parishioners, whom from time to time would take a look at the progress of the church-respecting the reality that it was their church and their contributions making it all possible.
Don worked very well with Ernst Ulmer, a local artist, who painted two Carmelite murals for the church. He cooperated well with him in devising a color scheme for the murals and basic proportions for that project. Finally, Don was friendly, likable, respectful, and courteous-a joy to have on-site for a period of four months.
Our parish staff and parishioners are totally pleased with our beautifully refurbished church. I would highly recommend Don Wendt and the workers of Ecclesiastical Studios for any future project and would be more than happy to speak with anyone who might have questions for me about their work.
Father David McEvoy St. Joseph Catholic Church Leavenworth, Ks
St. Peter the Apostle Church has recently completed renovation of our beautiful, 106-year-old gothic church. St. Peter's is an impressive structure and had undergone great efforts over several years to secure repairs to its exterior; however, the time had come to refurbish the interior as much of the paint and plaster had begun to show obvious signs of age and water damage.
Fortunately, we were able to secure the talents of Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons to assist us in our efforts. From conception to completion Don Wendt and his talented colleagues helped us to conceptualize and realize our dreams to restore St. Peter's luster and pass on to future generations the legacy of a beautiful structure that had been passed on to us. Without a doubt, our parish is again blessed to have one of the most beautiful places of worship in our region.
Part of the vision we had for our renovation was to enhance the architectural elements of the structure itself, but respecting the intent of the original decorators in keeping the ornamentation in a manner we describe as "noble simplicity." Much of the color and artistic enhancements were originally found in the altar, windows, and statuary of the building. Don's original design and color palette were chosen to enhance the beauty of what was already there. He worked very respectfully and carefully with us to continue to develop the plan as the process unfolded. He and his co-workers' attention to detail and the obvious care for our space were evident in abundance.
A renovation is never an easy process but Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons made the project much more enjoyable than I would have ever thought possible. From skill at repair to an artist's eye at enhancing subtly hidden details, the skill of their craftsmanship was abundantly evident. While we are very happy at the beautiful completion of our project, Don, Cliff, and Alex will be missed as they move on to their next adventure in helping future generations to worship in a beautiful space!
Without reservation, Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons receives my highest praise and recommendation!
Father J. Friedel St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church Joplin, Mo
I am very pleased to write this letter of recommendation on behalf of Mr. Don A. Wendt and his firm Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons of Greenwood, Mo. Mr. Wendt recently completed a total interior renovation of our church. Built in 1922, this gothic church with rich architectural design, had yet to receive proper decoration. E.S.S. masterfully and respectfully extracted the exquisite detail found in the architecture. Mr. Wendt demonstrated great respect for the structure, it's history, it's design, it's purpose. I must commend the creative genius of Mr. Wendt as a designer and a decorator. He and his associates repaired the badly damaged plaster, prepared its surfaces, and painted and ornamented the church with excellent taste and discrimination. His creative color scheme accents the beauty of the architectural detail and allowed the historic stained glass windows to emanate their radiant beauty. On behalf of all the parishioners of Holy Name Catholic Church, I express my gratitude and praise for the skill and craftsmanship, the respect, taste, and professionalism of Mr.Wendt and his associates. In Nomine Christi Father B. X. Gorges Holy Name Catholic Church Winfield, Ks
I have recently had the privilege of working with Don Wendt of Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons on the St. Peters project in Joplin, Mo. I want to pass on my recommendation for the excellent services he and his team provided. I have personally been a part of the construction industry for over 35 years, and in that time there have been few that I have worked with and admired as much as Don Wendt. To Don and his crew, it was more than just a job. Their heart and soul went into their work, and their finished project is exceptional. Working with Don resulted in a truly enjoyable construction experience for me, Crossland Construction and the entire St. Peter congregation. I truly hope to have another opportunity to work with Don and his team. They are the best in the business. Please feel free to contact me should you have questions or require further information. Curt Crossland Crossland Construction St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church Joplin, Mo
You were challenged by the fact that St. Ambrose Cathedral was used for weekday and weekend liturgies throughout the restoration process. Your orderliness and cleanliness made that possible (even your equipment and material were laid out in order). Artistically your creativity has impressed everyone that is especially shown by the concept, design, and completion of the cathedral. You gave this parish quality, everything from plaster to paint was done perfectly. Even in areas of the ceilings people never see. You and your men are so pleasant to work with. You take time for questions-suggestions and are open to changes. You and your company are true first-class professionals. And so we thank you, on behalf of the parish, our priests, and the whole diocesan faith community. Your efforts and concern and artistic skills have been a gift to us all. In Christ Father James Kiernan St. Ambrose Cathedral Des Moines, Ia
Don Wendt and Cliff Foth are two of the hardest workers I have been around. Don is an expert in colors and painting. Cliff is a master carpenter, very capable of making sanctuary furniture as well as an excellent detail painter. Together they form an excellent team. We have been extremely pleased with their work. I have found them to be trustworthy and dependable. Father Thomas Scaletty St. Joseph Catholic Church Humbolt, Ks & St. Patrick Catholic Church Canute, Ks
We were especially impressed by the initiative that Mr.Wendt took to suggest improvements in the church and by his interest in executing decorative design features beyond our initial planning. His desire was to do the best possible decoration of the church, to bring out the architectural features of the building, and to emphasize the spiritual focus of this shrine church. One of the notable advantages of E.S.S. (in addition to the high quality of the work) is the fact that all scaffolding, materials, tools, and supplies are provided. There are no "additional expenses" When you sign a contract with E.S.S., you know from the beginning exactly what the final cost of the contracted work will be. Father James Lambert SJ Our Lady Of Guadalupe Catholic Church San Antonio, Tx
In the fall of 2002, Don Wendt and his company, Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons, began the renovation of St. Joseph Church. In six months, our church was totally reborn from dark cracked walls, all one color from floor to ceiling and was transformed into a light beautiful house of worship with a range of colors to highlight all the dimensions and patterns hidden all these years by one color. Don restored our Statues and stations of the cross to their original splendor. He constructed a new altar and matching chairs. I would recommend Don Wendt and E.S.S. to all the priest in our Des Moines Diocese. Father Mike Berner St. Joseph Catholic Church Earling, Ia
I cannot speak highly enough of his talent as a designer and decorator. Few things in life can be said to exceed one's expectations, and our church renovation is one of them. He was receptive to my questions, comments, and suggestions. He always was willing to explain what he was doing and why. Father Alan Funk St. Mary Catholic Church Union City, In
Each time I walk into the church I see the beauty of our renovation. When I look at the chalice with the words, "do this in memory of me" written beneath it I think of your artistic ability. The Bishop was here the other day and we blessed the new baptismal font and rededicated the restored altar. As for myself, I can't express in words how wonderful it turned out. Your work ethic was superb as you stayed on schedule. This is not to mention your total attention to this job and never adding to the cost. That having been said, you never varied from the price. Your honesty and integrity put me at ease, your artistic ability and gift of seeing what the finished product would look like was comforting. It's like walking into heaven. Father Roger Hawes Holy Cross Catholic Church, Yorktown, Tx
Thank you for your recent mailing, including your letter. Congratulations on the recent award and the beautiful results at St. Peter's in Joplin! I'm also grateful for your sharing the conceptual drawing of what might be possible at Sacred Heart, in Verona. Most Reverend James V. Johnston, Jr., DD, JCL Former Bishop Of The Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo Diocese Current Bishop Of The Kansas City, Mo Diocese