In between coffee farms, overlooking the idyllic Kelakekua Bay, sits the quaint, country church of St. Benedict’s—full of a distinctly colorful history. Built up in 1899, the church still serves parishioners on the slopes of Mauna Loa within painted walls that tell Biblical stories. The art is the work of Father John Berchmans Velge, who taught himself to paint in order to visually explore Bible stories to a community that was generally unable to read.
Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions destroyed 11 of 14 churches in the area, but St. Benedict has remained still serving parishioners today. After a major restorartion and preservation effort, the church also continues to shares its history of the artful missionary efforts on the Island of Hawaii.