Monday, November 02, 2009

All Souls Day

Ceiling of All Souls Chapel, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missoui, USA

The ceiling of All Souls Chapel, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. This chapel is built over the tombs of the Archbishops of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

The galeri, or red hats of Cardinals, are suspended from the ceiling until they dissolve into dust. The earthly power of the Princes of the Church soon becomes nothing.

The patterns shown on this ceiling are four-fold in symmetry. The number four is an ancient symbol of things earthly. At the top of the photo can be seen winged hourglasses: time flies! But at the bottom, which is above the altar, we are reminded of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Our Savior.

Upon the ceiling is written:

Requiescant in pace
— May they rest in peace
Lux perpetua luceat eis
— Let perpetual light shine upon them
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine
— Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord
Signum futurae gloriae
— Sign of future glory

We have a special privilege to pray for those who have died. From the Enchiridion of Indulgences:
An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

The indulgence is
plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.


  1. This image is a composite of seven separate photos taken at the chapel, with the camera pointed up at the ceiling.

    The camera was directly below each galero, or red hat. Due to there being a tomb and altar towards the bottom of the chapel, it would have been unfitting to put my tripod over either. In these cases, I took the ceiling photos at an angle and corrected the perspective on the computer.

  2. Wonderful post today! Interesting about the galero hanging until they are dust. I appreciate your sensitivity to the placement of your tripod.

  3. Mark, this post sparked a question for me. It appears that the St Louis Diocese has had three Cardinals. Perhaps this question can only be answered with speculation but does the diocese have enough strength to someday have another Archbishop to be named a Cardinal?