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World's Fair Nativity Set at St. Coletta
Posted On: December 12, 2013

If you have been outside the St. Coletta of Wisconsin Little Flower Chapel around Christmas time you have seen the beautiful hand-carved Nativity scene that is displayed in front of the doors. How did St. Coletta go about possessing such a lovely Nativity scene? The Nativity scene has an interesting story behind it. It actually came to St. Coletta as a gift from the Stengel family of Jefferson. The Stengel family owned a construction company and had been working with St. Coletta as a building contractor. They wanted to make a donation to St. Coletta as a remembrance of the family. The hand-carved Nativity set was created by a Swiss artist, Ernst Thomann, in Saint Gall, Switzerland. It was brought to New York for the Swiss exhibit at the World’s Fair and was made available for purchase shortly after. The Stengel family bought the Nativity set and gave it as a generous donation to St. Coletta. In remembrance of this wonderful gift and the family that gave it, St. Coletta displays this beautiful Nativity scene in front of its chapel every Christmas. So next time you visit St. Coletta, take the time to look a little closer at the Nativity and appreciate the story behind it.