Sunday, November 30, 2008

Some Churches of Clinton County, Illinois

THREADED ALONG highway 161 in Clinton County, Illinois, is a remarkable series of Catholic churches. Like the precious jewel beads of a rosary made for a queen is this succession of fine churches made for the royal priesthood of the faithful.

Saint George Roman Catholic Church, in New Baden, Illinois, USA - exterior side
Saint George, in New Baden.

Click here for more photos of this church.

Saint Bernard Roman Catholic Church, in Albers, Illinois, USA - exterior front
Saint Bernard, in Albers.

More photos.

Saint Boniface Roman Catholic Church, in Germantown, Illinois, USA - exterior side
Saint Boniface, in Germantown.

Click for more photos.

Saint Cecilia Roman Catholic Church, in Bartelso, Illinois, USA - exterior 1
Saint Cecilia, in Bartelso.

More photos.

These churches are remarkably well preserved and finely renovated inside.

According to a correspondent who sent me this list of churches, there are other notable Catholic churches in the county, but I had time to visit only one more:

Saint Mary Roman Catholic Church, in Carlyle, Illinois, USA - exterior side
Saint Mary, in Carlyle.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Photos of Saint Joseph Church, in Meppen, Illinois

MY PARENTS RECENTLY took these photos of Saint Joseph Church, in Meppen, Illinois.  It is located in Calhoun County and is part of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Meppen, Illinois, USA - exterior front

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Meppen, Illinois, USA - interior

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Meppen, Illinois, USA - stained glass window

Click here for newer photos of the church.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Plans for Saint Gianna Church

SAINT GIANNA CHURCH in Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, is currently in a storefront in a strip mall.

Click here for plans of a new church and school. The proposed design is Neo-Classical in style and seats 300.

The church is about 45 highway miles west of downtown Saint Louis, in the rapidly-growing Saint Charles County. Due to this growth, there is a great need for more parishes, and for church expansion in this area.

Feasts of the Miraculous Medal and Saint Catharine Labouré

THE NATIONAL SHRINE of the Miraculous Medal is at the remarkable church, Saint Mary of the Barrens, in Perryville, Missouri.

Here are some of my photos of the shine.
Sunset, in Pacific, Missouri, USA

Sunset, taken yesterday, in Pacific, Missouri.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Late Fall at Shaw's Garden

THE MISSOURI BOTANICAL Garden — popularly known as Shaw's Garden — is delightful all year around, but in winter-time most of the floral action is inside of the greenhouses, unless you happen to look very carefully. These photos, taken November 25th, are perhaps some of the last nice views of the year's growing season.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Trapp Family Lodge model

The theme of this year's Christmas floral exhibit is the New England state of Vermont, and shown here a model of the Trapp Family Lodge, in Stowe, Vermont.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - pink camellia flower

A camellia flower, in the Linnean House.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - grass

Decorative grasses.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - sundial in Ottoman Garden

A fairly complex sundial, located in the Ottoman Garden. Gnomonics, the study of sundials, has a history going back at least 5,500 years in Egypt, and we ought to remember that the study of the passage of time was quite accurate even in remote antiquity. The Ottomans, as did the Latins of the West, got their knowledge of sundials from the Greek philosophers. Could any sundial expert shed some light on this dial's furnishings, particularly the analog graph and nodus in the middle, and the Omega with arrow near the bottom?

Sundials in the West, up to the end of the age of Christendom, showed 'temporary' hours — hours that would vary in length throughout the year — and each particular day (or night) was exactly divided into twelve hours. The length of Divine Office prayers, as defined by Saint Benedict, varied according to season in recognition of these variable hours. Strangely, a day divided into twelve hours was used in major cultures throughout the ancient world.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - fountain in Ottoman Garden

An Ottoman-style fountain.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - holly berries

Holly berries, Ilex genus, in the Victorian Garden.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - roses ready to bloom

Rose buds, ready to bloom, at this time of year?

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - lily pads in pond

Lilly pads in a pond, hidden-away and rarely-visited but by the birds of the air.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - birch tree

Birch tree (Betula genus), in the English Woodland Garden.  The cold months in Saint Louis often feature brilliant, clear, saturated skies, as seen here, in contrast to the pale haze of summer.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Japanese Maples in Japanese Garden

Japanese Maples, in the Japanese Garden. Tokyo, Japan, has a climate similar to Saint Louis, and so species of gardens of that type thrive well here. Oddly enough, there were some maple trees in this garden that were still nearly entirely green at this late time of year — just one leaf was starting to turn red; I was curious as to its species, but the tree's tag just indicated that it was of the Acer genus, species unknown.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - lantern in Japanese Garden.

A traditional lantern.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Zen landscape in Japanese Garden

Chrysanthemums, with rapidly-declining blooms, above a raked garden.

Shaw's Japanese Garden is in the style known as a "wet strolling garden", as developed by the mid 19th century. Although the design of such gardens is based on religious principles, perhaps unfamiliar to us, a Catholic ought to recognize that all that is true, good, and beautiful ultimately comes from God; however, we also ought to note that the Japanese have a natural law tradition, and so values many familiar principles of number, symmetry, similarity, order, and scale.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - koi in Japanese Garden

Hungry koi, ornamental varieties of the Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), beg for food. Koi breeding began in the 18th century.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - koi and duck in Japanese Garden

But Mr. Duck (a Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos) quickly grabbed all of the food I dropped into the water for the sluggish fish. Such speed is an advantage of being warm blooded. But if the fish can't eat now, they can always wait until next month: such is the advantage of being cold blooded!

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - zig-zag bridge in Japanese Garden

A zig-zag bridge.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - bridge in Japanese Garden

A drum bridge amidst rapidly-fading floral color. It was a remarkably beautiful and mild day, nearly perfect for a stroll.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - bridge in Chinese Garden

A marble bridge in the Chinese Garden.

Missouri Botanical ("Shaw's") Garden, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - winterberries in Bird Garden

Winterberries, Ilex verticillata, in the Bird Garden.

Other of my photos of the Garden are found here, here, here, here, here, herehereherehere, and here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

RELEASE-100th Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Francis de Sales

A note and some photos from Saint Francis de Sales Oratory:

ST. LOUIS, MO - Over 1.000 faithful gathered in the church of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, to assist at the Solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Robert J. Hermann, Administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  From the powerful beginning of the “Premiere Symphonie” of Guilmant to the sweeping phrases of the Credo of the “Messe Solemnelle” of Charles Gounod to the soaring lines of the closing hymn of “To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King,” sixty musicians filled the magnificent Gothic edifice of the St. Francis de Sales church. The splendor of the sacred liturgy was adorned fittingly by the majesty and richness of the music, directed by Mr. Nick Botkins, director of sacred music and master of the choirs at the Oratory.  

 

His Excellency, Bishop Hermann gave a moving sermon. He invited all faithful of good will to reclaim the fullness of the sacraments. He impressed upon all present the “verticality of the architecture of the church” which corresponds so visibly with the theocentricity of the Mass.

 

The Holy Mass was then followed by a festive gathering in the Oratory Hall, celebrating St. Francis de Sales church’s German immigrant heritage.  Complete with traditional German food and beer and even a German band, the afternoon was enjoyed  by hundreds of families with children of all ages who crowded the church hall.  This overwhelming turnout was a testament to the thriving youthful community of faithful at the Oratory.

 

On this 100th Anniversary, it was also announced that St. Francis de Sales is beginning a capital campaign called “Tradition for Tomorrow.”   This campaign will raise the necessary funds to restore the church of St. Francis de Sales to its former glory and ensure that it remains a true landmark of South St. Louis.  More information can be found at www.traditionfortomorrow.com .    

 

 

Mr. Jon R. T. Rochê

INSTITUTE OF CHRIST THE KING SOVEREIGN PRIEST

St. Francis de Sales Oratory

2653 Ohio Avenue

Saint Louis, Missouri 63118

p. 314. 771. 3100

f. 314. 771. 3295

www.institute-christ-king.org





Photo of Saint Gabriel the Archangel Church

Saint Gabriel the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis (Saint Louis Hills neighborhood), Missouri, USA - view of church and rectory at sunset

Saint Gabriel the Archangel Church, in the Saint Louis Hills neighborhood of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rosaries

I HAVE QUITE a collection of rosaries. No, I'm not a collector: I wore these out.

But please don't misunderstand me — I am not a prayer warrior — I don't pray 15 decades every day, and I may not even do 5 decades on some bad, distracted days.  These rosaries wore out because they were poorly made.  Cheap cheap cheap, even if they were expensive.

One particular rosary has beads that pop right off the chain.  Once I was visiting the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago — back when it was just an empty shell of a building — and a bead popped off, bouncing noisily across the floor, the echo of it reverberating throughout the church. Other beads were lost down dark streets in central California, while others are perhaps somewhere on my bedroom floor.

Chain breakage is a problem with another rosary.  Of course, I would repair it with wire, which left sharp points.  Ever hear of anyone shedding blood by praying the rosary?

The crucifix fell off of another rosary.  Bead breakage on another.

Most rosaries for sale are rather girly, with jewel-like beads and bright colors.  So few are available in basic black, and the really nice wood ones, like the ones Religious often use, are too big.

Now I got a very nice old rosary, in perfect condition, from my parents, and this one was of excellent quality and very durable.  Alas, I lost it on election night.  A very bad night, indeed.

I must admit that I didn't pray the rosary when first I became Catholic.  Must be my Protestant upbringing.  Maybe I was too proud for this humble devotion.

However, once a priest gave me as penance 1,590 Hail Marys and 180 Our Fathers.  "What did you do?" a correspondent asked, "Blow up a bus full of nuns?" No!  But Father was distressed that I did not pray the rosary daily, and asked me to pray it every day for a month.  Yes, it worked, I became devoted to Our Lady.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Tradition for Tomorrow"

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - view from the Compton Heights Water Tower
“For one hundred years, the silhouette of St. Francis de Sales has been a distinctive mark on the skyline of South St. Louis. While the surroundings of the church have been refashioned over this time span, the 300-foot tower has remained a steadfast symbol of tradition and of hope, pointing skyward, as if conveying the noble aspirations of generations of St. Louis inhabitants.”
— from the new Tradition for Tomorrow website, for the restoration of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.

Operated by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Oratory offers the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church according to the traditional Latin ritual, and is a center of Catholic culture in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

http://www.traditionfortomorrow.com

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Reminder....

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - tower at night
THIS SUNDAY is the 100th Anniversary of St. Francis de Sales Church, and celebrations will feature an Orchestra Mass and Kirchweifest.

Bishop Robert J. Hermann, Archdiocesan Administrator, will celebrate Mass on November 23rd at 10:00 a.m., with choir and full orchestra.

At 12:30 p.m., a German-style feast will be offered in the church hall.

Click here for more details.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Photos of the Lafayette Square Neighborhood

LAFAYETTE SQUARE contains perhaps the finest surviving Victorian architecture in the United States. This neighborhood, located south of downtown Saint Louis, Missouri, surrounds the 30-acre Lafayette Park.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park entrance

An entrance to the park, designed by Francis Tunica. These photos were taken on November 1st, All Saints Day, at the peak of Autumn color.

According to a history of the neighborhood:
Since Saint Louis’s beginning as a French village in 1764, the land which is now Lafayette Square had been a common pasture for village livestock and had never been privately owned. These commons became encampments for bands of criminals who would attack and rob area travelers. In 1835, now under American rule, Mayor Darby gained permission from the state legislature to begin selling the commons to drive the criminals out. When the city began to sell the common pasture, the Board of Aldermen set aside about thirty acres for community recreation. The square park was bordered by a street on each side, with the southern street called Lafayette in honor of General Marie-Joseph-Paul-Roch-Yves-Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, who had visited Saint Louis a few years previous.
In 1837 a real estate panic forced many who had bought land surrounding the Square to cease their payments causing the land to revert to the City. In the early 1850s, after courts had adjudicated the ownership of these properties, several prominent Saint Louisans bought most of the land bordering the southern end of the Park. These families built expensive homes along on Lafayette Avenue and secured state legislation preventing “any nuisance within a distance of 600 feet from the Park.” On November 12, 1851, the park was dedicated as “Lafayette Square” by City Ordinance 2741. By 1856, real estate developers had begun to sell lots on the western edge of the park—along Missouri Avenue—and by 1858 lots on the east side—Mississippi Avenue—were being sold. On Park Avenue—running along the north edge of the Square—the lots were developed by the 1870s.
Natural disaster began this neighborhood's period of decline:
On May 27, 1896, Lafayette Square was largely destroyed by a tornado. The tornado did millions of dollars worth of damage, and killed many. The tornado uprooted nearly all of the trees in the Park as well as the trees on Benton Place, damaged the fence, destroyed the bandstand, destroyed the Union Club and the Methodist church at Jefferson and Lafayette Avenues, crippled the Presbyterian and Methodist churches, tore the roof off the Unitarian church, and crippled or destroyed many homes on the Square. Although some residents gave up on the neighborhood and moved away, others began to rebuild and by 1904 the Square had improved enough “to earn special commendation from foreign landscape architects who were visiting the World’s Fair.”
In 1923, the Missouri Supreme Court declared the 1918 residential zoning ordinance unconstitutional (see City of St. Louis v. Evraiff, 256 S.W. 489 (Mo. 1923)) and businesses began to purchase lots in the area. What the tornado of 1896 had begun, and the encroachment of gas stations and grocery stores continued, the Great Depression accelerated. By the end of World War II, the Square’s half-century of decline was complete. At this time, the neighborhood that was once the jewel of St. Louis had reached the low point in its history by becoming “a pocket ghetto of the unfortunate and poor,” known as “Slum D.”
The fortunes of this area reversed in the late 1960s, when dedicated restorationists moved into the neighborhood. Less than a decade earlier, Victorian architecture was despised and vast numbers of buildings of that era were being destroyed on an scale unprecedented outside of warfare. These urban pioneers often relied on their own labor to restore the buildings, which were then in great disrepair and available at extremely low cost; they are now quite valuable.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park cannons

These cannons are from the British warship Acteon, which sank while attacking Fort Moultrie during the Revolutionary War.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - statue of Senator Thomas Hart Benton

Statue of Thomas Hart Benton (1782 - 1858), a Democrat and United States Senator from 1821, the year Missouri gained Statehood, to 1851, when he lost support due to the slavery controversy. He was one of the chief architects of the policy that became known as "Manifest Destiny": that the United States was to become a vast, continental power. On the pedestal of this statue is a phrase he used during his stump speeches: "There is the East. There is India," as he pointed to the west. He was a proponent of Jeffersonian Democracy, gold specie money (as opposed to paper currency and bank debt), and although a slave owner, he opposed its expansion into the new territories; this opposition, and that he was also a staunch Unionist, ended his career in the Senate.

This statue was erected in 1868 and is by Harriet Goodhue Hosmer, who studied anatomy at the Saint Louis Medical College, and was a member of a women's group of neoclassical sculptors in Rome, Italy.

Trade through Saint Louis in the early part of the century exchanged manufactured goods from Britain and New England for bartered furs from the Indians and hard money from Mexico.  Not relying on banks and especially debt, the prosperity of Saint Louis had a steady character.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - statue of President George Washington

A statue of George Washington (1732-1799), first President of the United States, installed in 1869.  This is one of six copies of the statue by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741 -1828), a French neoclassical sculptor known for his portraits of Enlightenment figures.  Houdon was a member of Les Neuf Sœurs, a Grand Orient masonic lodge in France organized in 1776 to support the American Revolution; he was persuaded by Benjamin Franklin, master of the lodge, and Thomas Jefferson, envoy to the lodge, to come to America.  Washington sat for Houdon in 1785, which included plaster and clay masks from life; Houdon also made casts of Jefferson and Franklin, which led to other famous sculptures.

Washington is shown here next to the fasces lictoriae, a symbol of power and unity in Ancient Rome, much used in governmental architecture in the United States.

As a Federalist, Washington supported a strong central government with extensive powers of taxation and a central bank.  He promoted national civic virtue, and warned against sectionalism, partisanship, and involvement in foreign wars.

Lafayette, after whom this neighborhood is named, served with distinction under Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - statue of frog

A frog sculpture in the children's playground, by Robert Cassilly, who also founded the City Museum in downtown.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - duck house

A swan house on an island in the park's lake.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - shelter 1

A gazebo, the third to sit on this spot.  It can be rented for events.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - wedding

A low-quality photo of an elegant wedding party being photographed in the park.

Old Lafayette Park police station, in the Lafayette Square neighborhood in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

This photo of an old police station in Lafayette Park dates from April of this year. I was unable to take a fresh photo, because another wedding party was being photographed here.  Known as the Park House, this was built in 1867 and expanded in 1870.  The building is smaller than it appears, since it incorporates detail on a scale which perhaps is more properly found on a larger structure.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - bridge 1

This part of the park is the Rockery, with an iron bridge spanning a small lake.  The wedding party shown above was photographed at this bridge.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - bridge 2

A close-up of the bridge, with a blurry glimpse of the groom on the right.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lafayette Park - red flowers

A nice planter.  In the background is seen a section of the wrought-iron fence around the park, installed in 1869. At one time, this kind of fencing was very common in Saint Louis, but much of it was scrapped during World War II. Local residents fought hard to preserve this fence during that time.  Behind the fence are homes in the Second Empire style (I think.  Corrections appreciated).

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - mansion

On Park Avenue is a grand mansion, facing the north side of the park.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - businesses

A row of businesses, northeast of the park.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - houses

Nicely-restored townhouses along Mississippi Avenue, facing the park from the east.

Residents of this neighborhood tend to be politically liberal, and they reflect in some ways the attitudes of the founders of Lafayette Square, who were mainly wealthy and fashionable mainstream Protestants or freethinkers.

There is no Catholic church in this neighborhood, nor did any exist here during the neighborhood's heyday.  Saint Joseph (Lithuanian) Catholic church was here from 1915 to 1970, a period when this neighborhood was in sharp decline and impoverished.  The church and rectory still exist, and are for sale; I did not take a photo of it because I didn't know of its history at the time.  The nearest existing Catholic church in the area is Saint John Nepomuk, located about half a mile to the east of the park. [Update: Click here for my photos of the old Saint Joseph Church;  this neighborhood does have a chapel of the Society of Saint Pius X, a group currently in imperfect communion with the Holy See.]

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - house 1

This is a "half-flounder" style building, an unusual type found primarily in Saint Louis and Alexandria, Virginia.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - shop

A shop, on the corner of Hickory Street and Mississippi Avenue.

Saint Louisians were incredulous about moving to Lafayette Square during its initial development. For this area was separated from the existing city, being south of the Mill Creek Valley and Chouteau's Pond, and so was quite inconvenient to the rest of town.

Disasters changed public opinion.  In 1849, a cholera epidemic wiped out 10% of the city's population, and a steamboat explosion and subsequent fire destroyed much of the older part of town.  Obviously, having too large of a population living in close confines increased the risk of such disasters happening again.

In response, new neighborhoods sprang up, including Lucas Place (now destroyed) and Lafayette Square.  New horse-drawn omnibus lines served as transportation into downtown, and some of the nation's earliest sewer and water systems were developed as public health measures. Cemeteries were also relocated to outlying areas.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - lofts

A former shoe factory, two blocks north of the park, is now an apartment building.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - view of downtown

At the far end of that building, a view of downtown Saint Louis.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - large stone wall

Lafayette Park sits above the Mill Creek Valley, and roads leading down to Chouteau Avenue are somewhat steep; this large retaining wall shores up the Benton Place development above. Somewhat mysteriously, there is a door in this wall, now cemented shut.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - house 2

If I recall properly, the lower part of this building dates from the colonial period.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - house 3

Next door.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - house 4

The old Desloge mansion on Benton Place, the first private street in Saint Louis.  This block is one of my sister-in-law's favorites.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - houses 2

Other homes on Benton Place.

Lafayette Square Neigborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - old fountain

This fountain, now a planter, is also on Benton Place.  This photo is from April of this year.

Lafayette Square Neighborhood, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - houses 3

For sale.