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The Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic

Landscape architect Tom Mortensen donated pro bono professional design services for The Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic Catholic Parish in Brookfield, Wisconsin. The shrine of St. Dominic is set in the center of the gardens. The installation of the gardens spanned over the past 10 years, based on donations and availability of funding from the sponsorship of parish members.

Beginning in 2005, the ongoing project at St. Dominic Catholic Parish in Brookfield, Wisconsin has been brought to life through generous donations from parish members and volunteers. For many years landscape architect Tom Mortensen donated pro bono professional design services for the beautification of the Prayer Gardens. He is a parish member and his three daughters attended the grade school at St. Dominic.

The initial idea of creating a quiet place for reflection on the campus was initiated by the school's kindergarten teacher. Soon after a committee was formed to explore the opportunity. Through a series of meetings, a site analysis and planning sessions, a location on the campus was selected and the planning of the gardens began to take shape.

The selected design is based on a concentric circular pattern with a series of eight themed gardens that surround a statue of St. Dominic as a central focal point to the gardens. The spoke-like layout of the garden paths are orientated to the front narthex of the church and the existing bell tower. A large raised terrace sits opposite the church and tower.

Moore Construction installed the stone veneer to the plinth for the memorial stone slab on the entry plaza. All installation of the gardens, paving, masonry, amenities, electrical, irrigation and the garden shrines were donated.

Across from the narthex is an entry plaza to the gardens with two memorial stone monuments that contain all the names of the donors who contributed and sponsored the various gardens, shrines and site amenities. There are also stone benches and a water feature at the plaza. No monies from the parish funds were used to install and maintain the gardens.

Five custom bronze shrines were made in Italy that grace the gardens. All of the shrines sit on stone plinths except for the crucifix which looks over the gardens from the back wall of the terrace. The shrines are also reflected in the themes of the gardens. There are stone benches throughout the gardens that were crafted from locally sourced limestone.

Over the past 10 years Mortensen has been involved with the design, construction details, contractor coordination and oversight of the installation and maintenance of the gardens, which are used for gatherings, special events, masses, wedding photos, outdoor classes and quiet reflection.

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November 22, 2019, 1:01 pm PDT

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