In 2009, driving east out of Havre, Montana on Highway 2 (The Hi-Line), I pulled over at The Sacred Heart Catholic Church, near Fort Belknap Agency. I was attracted by its starkness on the flat, lonesome landscape, and by the thick shadows it cast towards an adjoining cemetery. The latter is still in use, but the church, known locally as The Pink Church, has been closed since the early 1960s. I’ve seen photos showing it in various pinkish hues, and also an adobe shade that’s probably caused by deep evening light. Whatever the color, it was weatherbeaten the afternoon I stopped.
The sparse population there is mostly Native American, and by any material standard the area is poor. There is no town and few dwellings. I can’t speak to the spiritual beliefs of those residents, except to note the decline of this symbol of European culture. Like the shadows, its influence is receding into history.