Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Photos of Saint Bridget of Kildare Church, in Pacific, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Bridget's Church, in Pacific, Missouri, taken on the occasion of the parish's Fall Festival on All Saints Day. Pacific straddles Franklin County to the west, and Saint Louis County to the east, and is about 36 highway miles west-by-southwest of downtown Saint Louis.

Saint Bridget of Kildare Roman Catholic Church, in Pacific, Missouri, USA - exterior

The parish dates from 1841, and the church from 1961; the church building is in the Modern style typical of that era.

The first St. Bridget's church was a log structure built north of town, which according to a history was 24 by 40 feet in size, and eventually collapsed after a period of disuse. A brick church was built in Pacific starting in either 1857 or 1859; during the Civil War, the Union Army attempted to demolish the unfinished building for use in making fortifications.

The Irish settled this region in significant numbers in the 1840s. Cholera outbreaks sometimes prevented recent immigrants from settling in the cities, and Irish immigrants were particularly attacked by the Nativists and Know-Nothings. A history of the Irish in this area is found here.

Saint Bridget of Kildare Roman Catholic Church, in Pacific, Missouri, USA - cornerstone

Pacific was originally named Franklin, after Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. As there was already a post office in Missouri named Franklin, the name had to be changed. The current name Pacific comes from the Pacific Railroad, which reached this region from Saint Louis in 1853. Many Irish worked on the construction of this railroad, and for the next century, the rails and the Irish were dominant in the history of this town.

Saint Bridget of Kildare Roman Catholic Church, in Pacific, Missouri, USA - narthex

A view into the narthex of the church, which was locked at the time I took these photos.

Saint Bridget of Kildare Roman Catholic Church, in Pacific, Missouri, USA - icon

The parish's patroness is Saint Bridget (or Brigid) of Kildare (a.d. 451 or 452 - February 1, 525). According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Refusing many good offers of marriage, she became a nun and received the veil from St. Macaille. With seven other virgins she settled for a time at the foot of Croghan Hill, but removed thence to Druin Criadh, in the plains of Magh Life, where under a large oak tree she erected her subsequently famous Convent of Cill-Dara, that is, "the church of the oak" (now Kildare), in the present county of that name.
Saint Bridget of Kildare Roman Catholic Church, in Pacific, Missouri, USA - view of sandstone bluffs from parking lot

A view of the sandstone bluffs across the street from church's school.

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