Monday, March 30, 2009

Saint Elizabeth Academy

Saint Elizabeth Academy, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - old exterior door

The old entrance to Saint Elizabeth Academy, in Saint Louis.

More Spring Flowers at Shaw's Garden

MORE SPRING FLOWER photos, taken last Wednesday at the Missouri Botanical Garden, founded by Henry Shaw in 1859.

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Linnean House
The Linnean House dates from 1882 and contains the garden's camellias.

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - orange and yellow tulip

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - orange and yellow tulip, view inside of cup

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - pink tulip

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - blue flowers

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Common hyacinth, Hyacinthus orientalis 'Blue Jacket' Liliaceae
Common hyacinth, Hyacinthus orientalis 'Blue Jacket' Liliaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - yellow viola

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Large-cupped daffodil, Narcissus 'Vega' Amaryllidaceae
Large-cupped daffodil, Narcissus 'Vega' Amaryllidaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - orchid 2
Not a spring flower, but a nice orchid for sale in the gift shop.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dennis Flavan, R.I.P.

Pray for the repose of the soul of Dennis Flavan, brother of a dear friend, and pray for the consolation of his friends and family.

Obituary.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Feast of the Annunciation

AVE GRATIA PLENA: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus.

Saint Bernard Roman Catholic Church, in Albers, Illinois, USA - stained glass window detail - Annunciation
At Saint Bernard Church, in Albers, Illinois.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri - Our Lady's Chapel - wall mosaic of Annunciation
At the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis: Our Lady's Chapel.

Mary Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Annunciation 2
At Mary, Queen of Peace, in Webster Groves, Missouri.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri - Annunciation 2
At the Saint Louis Art Museum.

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, in Belleville, Illinois, USA - First Joyous Mystery, The Annunciation
At the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, in Belleville, Illinois.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Photos of Saint Mary's (Immaculate Conception) Church, in Brussels, Illinois

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Church in the village of Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois. It is about 39 miles by car and ferryboat northwest of downtown Saint Louis, Missouri.

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - exterior side

This church dates from 1863 and replaced one built in 1847.

The town of Brussels is named after the hometown in Belgium of the church's first parish priest. Click here for more photos of Brussels.

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - sanctuary

Saint Mary's is one church among three that comprise Blessed Trinity parish in the south part of Calhoun County.  According the diocesan directory, this combined parish has about 1097 parishioners in 433 families.

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - sanctuary 2

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - apse ceiling with gold mosaics and the Lamb of the Apocalypse

Brilliant gold mosaic is above the altar, along with the Lamb of God on the Book of Seven Seals from the Apocalypse.

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - old high altar and tabernacle

On the front of the old high altar is the Last Supper: along with Jesus, the apostles John, Peter, and the betrayer Judas are clearly identifiable.

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - statue of Saint Joseph and window with eagle and fish symbols

Statue of Saint Joseph.  Stained glass window has the Christological symbols of an eagle and fish.

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - stained glass window of the Holy Family

Stained glass window of the Holy Family.

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - stained glass window of the Nativity; stairs leading to the choir loft

Stained glass window of the Nativity and adoration of the shepherds.

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - Medallions with titles of Our Lady - Tower of David, Seat of Wisdom, Ark of the Covenant

On the molding around the ceiling are medallions of titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary as found in the Litany of Loreto. Shown here in composite are Tower of David (Canticle of Canticles 4:4); Seat of Wisdom; and Ark of the Covenant (compare 2 Samuel 6:9 and Luke 1:43).

Immaculate Conception (Saint Mary's) Roman Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - Graves of pastors in the Catholic cemetery

Graves of parish pastors in the Catholic cemetery.

Address:
111 Main Street
Brussels, Illinois 62013


UPDATE: This church was destroyed by fire, on Christmas Eve of 2011. More details can be found here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Visit to Brussels, Illinois

THE VILLAGE OF Brussels, Illinois, is about 39 miles northwest of downtown Saint Louis by car and by boat. Located in the perfectly rural Calhoun County, this village of less than 200 souls nevertheless offers places to worship and to relieve your thirst.

Golden Eagle Ferryboat on the Mississippi River, near Golden Eagle, Illinois, USA - view off back of boat

Missouri recedes as the Golden Eagle ferryboat crosses the Mississippi River into Illinois.

Calhoun County is bound on the west and south by the Mississippi River, and on the east by the Illinois River; travel into the county is provided by ferryboats and by one bridge, far to the north.

Golden Eagle Ferryboat on the Mississippi River, near Golden Eagle, Illinois, USA

The ferryboat and her passengers approach the village of Golden Eagle. This relative isolation helps make Calhoun County the most purely rural county in the State of Illinois, without any large urban centers.

The "Kingdom of Calhoun" is named after John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), a strong proponent of States' Rights and the South, who held a number of elected and appointed national offices. Calhoun County was organized in 1825, when its namesake was Vice President of the United States.

This section of Illinois was a part of the Military Tract, bounty lands set aside by the Federal government for the veterans of the War of 1812.

Countryside at Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA

Approximately 2/3rds of Illinois was glaciated, and most of the state is very flat with thick glacial topsoil. However, this county was untouched by the most recent glaciers, and has rolling topography in the southern portion, as seen here, which is well-suited to farming and orchards. Further north in Calhoun county, the rugged Dividing Ridge separates the watersheds of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and tends to be forested.

Associated with the Lincoln Hills region of Missouri, this rugged region is geographically and culturally more like the Ozarks than the vast prairie which surrounds it to the north, east, and west.

Most of the State's peach crop comes from this county, which also has apple orchards. Vineyards are now becoming prominent, augmenting the regional wine production. In season, there are numerous roadside produce stands where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables.

Wittmond Hotel, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA

Founded in 1847 as the Wittmond Trading Post, the current Wittmond Hotel in Brussels is known for its food and drink.

House, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA

Originally settled in 1822, Brussels was named in 1847 after the city in Belgium, in honor of the hometown of the first parish priest, Fr. John Moliter. The village is mainly populated by descendants of German immigrants.

The Brussels Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Catholic cemetery, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA

The Catholic cemetery.

Brussels Villiage Jail, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA

The Brussels Village Jail, last used in 1952.

House, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - 2

These photos were taken on March 6th, a warm day in late winter, before the spring flowers had emerged.

Saint Mary's Catholic Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA

Saint Mary's (Immaculate Conception) Catholic Church, built in 1863. It is a part of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

House, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - 3

Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA

Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, on the north end of town.

House, in Brussels, Calhoun County, Illinois, USA - 4

Feast of Saint Benedict

IN THE OLD calendar, today is the feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia, Abbot, founder of Western monasticism and author of the Rule or Ordo of monastic living in community that bears his name.

As co-patron of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a Solemn High Mass is to be held in his honor at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory at 12:10 p.m. today.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Vernal Equinox

TODAY IS the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and so likewise is the first day of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. This day is known as the “Vernal Equinox” — which comes from the Latin vernalis ‘of the Spring’ and aequinoctium, aequi- ‘equal’ + nox, nocti- ‘night’ — because on this day, everywhere in the world, the length of the night is approximately twelve hours in length (disregarding optical effects due to the atmosphere and the size of the sun's disk).

When the northern pole of the world points towards the sun, it is the warm seasons of the year in the northern hemisphere, and when it points away from the sun, it is the cold season; but today, and on the day of the Autumnal Equinox, the Earth's axis is in-between. The northern pole of the world is now turning back to the sun, lengthening the days in this hemisphere, and indeed this penitential season is called ‘Lent’ in English, from the Anglo-Saxon word lœnan, meaning ‘to lengthen’.

Fittingly, since this is the beginning of the season of growth, we find that many ancient calendars set the Vernal Equinox as the New Year's Day. But the observation of the equinoxes goes back to remote antiquity, and I am always amazed at the astronomical accuracy often found among the ancients throughout the world.

The date of the Spring Equinox is nowadays somewhere between March 19th and the 21st, but traditionally it was observed on March 25th; this change was due to a poorly-implemented calendar reform, where leap-year days were mistakenly inserted for a while every three years instead of every four years. Julius Caesar was assassinated the year following his calendar reform, but Caesar Augustus corrected this error after 36 years, and dropped several leap year days.

Since religion is concerned with higher things such as first and final causes, while government tends to be concerned with opinions and appearances, the calendar traditionally is the domain of the priesthood.  Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar by his authority as pontifex maximus, or head of the Roman religion, and his calendar is still in use by Orthodox Churches. Likewise the Gregorian Calendar we now use was promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII.

Designing a calendar is rather problematic.  It is useful and fitting that a calendar synchronizes with the various natural cycles, such as the orbit of the Earth around the sun, the seasons, the lunar phases, and day and night. Calendars often incorporate weekly cycles used for market days, days of rest, and religious observances, including our seven-day week. The problem stems from the fact that these cycles are not numerically commensurate, in that a fixed number of months, weeks, and days cannot be precisely fit into a solar year or lunar month, and so a calendar has to be a compromise.

The Christian calendars synchronize with the seasons and do not observe the lunar cycle - the ancient Roman calendar originally had each month start with the New Moon, but that was quickly changed to fixed months.  The Jewish calendar synchronizes with both the Moon and the seasons, but this requires an additional month inserted into the calendar periodically. The Islamic calendar is lunar but does not synchronize with the seasons.  All three include the seven-day week, but the week does not have any particular association with months and years.

The cycle of the seasons do not match the orbit of the Earth around the sun, due to the phenomenon of the Procession of the Equinoxes. The ancient Egyptian calendar would start the New Year based on the rise of Sirius, the Dog star, and this would drift with time.

The Christian dating of Easter is related to the Vernal Equinox. The day of the Resurrection of our Lord occurred on the Sunday following Passover, and so ecclesiastical calculations of the day of Easter roughly approximates the Jewish calendar.  However, early churchmen rather wanted the observance of the Resurrection to be held on the same day throughout the world instead of strictly following the Jewish calendar, which often varied by community, was otherwise somewhat unpredictable for future years, and was not under the authority of the Church.  Logically, Easter is the first Sunday after the first Full Moon on or after the Vernal Equinox, which is in the Jewish month of Nisan; but our calculations are only approximate.

The English word ‘Easter’ comes from the pagan deity Ēostre; this was first observed by Saint Bede the Venerable, and the pagan custom had already died out at the time of his writing. However, the name of this Christian feast day in most other languages is derived from the Hebrew Pesach (פֶּסַח), or Passover, which is where we get the English word Paschaltide.

The Catholic love for places, seasons, and things often lead to accusations of paganism, but I think this attitude is perhaps due to our contemporary split between rationalism and spirituality. On the one hand, we have a scientific worldview of planetary orbits divorced from God, and on the other we have iconoclastic religion devoid of art and forgetful of history. Rather, the Church appreciates all of Creation, which was made very good, although it is fallen. Echos of this attitude may perhaps be found in the lyrics of Loreena McKennitt's lovely song The Mummers' Dance, where “the springtime of the year” is “the work of Our Lord's hand”.


See also my post on the numbering of days in the Roman calendar.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Motherhouse of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - photo of Saint Joseph with view of Mississippi River

Statue of Saint Joseph and the Christ Child, with the Mississippi River in the background, at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet.

Feast of Saint Joseph

TODAY WE HONOR Saint Joseph, humble tekton, spouse of the Virgin Mary, and foster-father of Jesus.

Old Cathedral - statue of Saint Joseph and the Christ Child
Statue of Joseph and the Christ Child at the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Patronage:

The Universal Church
Families
The dying
Workers
Against doubt and hesitation

and:

Americas
Austria
Belgium
Bohemia
Bursars
cabinetmakers
Canada
carpenters
China
civil engineers
confectioners
craftsmen
Croatia
expectant mothers
fathers
happy death
house hunters
immigrants
Korea
married people
Mexico
New France
New World
people who fight Communism
Peru
pioneers
pregnant women
Sicily, Italy
social justice
travelers
unborn children
Viet Nam

and many others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Flowers at Shaw's Garden

PHOTOS TAKEN today, at the Missouri Botanical Garden, popularly known as Shaw's Garden.

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Magnolia hybrid Magnoliaceae
Magnolia hybrid Magnoliaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel' Magnoliaceae
Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel' Magnoliaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Pansy, Viola x wittrockiana 'Ultima Morpho' Violaceae
Pansy, Viola x wittrockiana 'Ultima Morpho' Violaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Rhododendron 'Floda' Ericaceae
Rhododendron 'Floda' Ericaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Magnolia x soulangeana Magnoliaceae
Magnolia x soulangeana Magnoliaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - pink flowers

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - blue flower

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Cyclamineus daffodil, Narcissus 'The Alliance' Amaryllidaceae
Cyclamineus daffodil, Narcissus 'The Alliance' Amaryllidaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Double daffodil, Narcissus 'Full House' Amaryllidaceae
Double daffodil, Narcissus 'Full House' Amaryllidaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Star magnolia, Magnolia stellata 'Rosea' Magnoliaceae
Star magnolia, Magnolia stellata 'Rosea' Magnoliaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Viola x wittrockiana 'Clear Sky Deep Orange'
Viola x wittrockiana 'Clear Sky Deep Orange'

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Lobularia maritima 'Snow Crystals'
Lobularia maritima 'Snow Crystals'

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - dark purplish blue flower

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Primula 'Alejandra' Primulaceae
Primula 'Alejandra' Primulaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Split-corona daffodil, Narcissus 'Cassata' Amaryllidaceae'
Split-corona daffodil,
Narcissus 'Cassata' Amaryllidaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - orange flower

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Kaufmanniana tulip, Tulipa 'Stresa' Liliaceae
Kaufmanniana tulip, Tulipa 'Stresa' Liliaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Star magnolia, Magnolia stellata Magnoliaceae
Star magnolia, Magnolia stellata Magnoliaceae

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - crocuses
Crocuses

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - purple crocuses
Purple crocuses

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden), in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Shaw House and Museum
The Shaw country home and former museum.