Tuesday, March 25, 2014

UMSL to Destroy the Former Incarnate Word Convent

CHARLES LUCAS, second-generation French-American, and a settler in the Saint Louis region before Missouri statehood, owned a considerable amount of land around what is now Normandy, Missouri, which he named after his father’s birthplace.

Lucas was killed in a duel by Thomas Hart Benton, then a rival lawyer and future United States Senator, and the Lucas estate passed on to his brother James, and his sister Ann, who married into the Hunt family. The Lucas-Hunts were very generous to the Church, which led to an astonishing variety of Catholic institutions in the area, the remains of some can be seen in these articles:

Normandy, Missouri - the “Little Rome of the West", part 1
Normandy, Missouri - the “Little Rome of the West", part 2

Part of this former Lucas and Hunt land is now the property of the University of Missouri—Saint Louis, which also owns a number of the formerly Catholic buildings featured in the articles linked above.

Former Incarnate Word Convent, at the University of Missouri - Saint Louis, in Normandy, Missouri, USA - exterior front

Here is the former convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word (Congregatio Sororum Caritatis a Verbo Incarnato). It is now known as Normandie Hall, on the UMSL campus. The school intends to demolish this building this summer, the reason being that it would cost $11 million to renovate — and only $1 million to destroy.

A news report on this can be found here: Former convent faces demolition at UMSL. A Facebook group hoping to preserve the convent can be found here: Save Incarnate Word Convent + Alumni Center.

This is a shame, but UMSL has a history of rather uninspiring architectural choices, including the destruction of its first building, the elegant clubhouse of the former Bellerive Country Club, as well as the tepid Modernist buildings that punctuate spaces between its vast parking lots. Contrast this with the better architecture found at Saint Louis, Webster, and Washington Universities. Banality drives out the beautiful.

UPDATE: the university decided to save the building for now, and is looking into various proposals for it.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
March 21, 2014



2013 Priestly Ordinations,
Church of Sts. Michele e Gaetano in Florence, Italy

An announcement was made today by the Institute’s US Provincial Headquarters in Chicago regarding the upcoming 2014 Ordinations of American seminarians in their home country, specifically in St. Louis.

The full text is published on the Institute’s web site at

Following the press release below, we express our profound gratitude and joy at the anticipation of this momentous event here at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, on August 5, 2014.

Press Release:

With heartfelt gratitude to Divine Providence, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has the joy to announce that several of its growing number of American seminarians will be ordained to the holy priesthood this summer in their home country.

With the gracious permission of His Grace, the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, several American deacons will receive priestly ordination at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 5, 2014, Feast of Our Lady of the Snows.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be conferred by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, during the solemn Pontifical Mass which will be offered on this feast in honor of Mary Immaculate, principal patroness of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
The Institute welcomes all friends and faithful who would like to attend this Ordination ceremony. Details will be made available in the coming months. Everyone is likewise invited to pray for these several deacons as they prepare to become ordained sons of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at the service of Holy Mother Church and for the good of souls.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Early Flowers at the Garden

ON THE LAST DAY of winter, I visited the Missouri Botanical Garden, and was surprised by how much was in bloom. After a particularly cold and snowy winter, these signs of spring are welcome.

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden) in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - purple flower 1

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden) in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - blue flower 1

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden) in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - white flower 1

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden) in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - yellow flower 1

Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw's Garden) in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - purple crocus 1

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Feast of Saint Joseph

At the Old Cathedral, in downtown Saint Louis. This church is currently undergoing restoration.