While in St. Louis, I saw a small church where I would cross the street to the Arch. Though I walked past it several times, on my last walk I noticed the doors were open and went inside. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was a Catholic church and discovered it was founded in 1770. In fact it was the first Cathedral west of the Mississippi.
Though rebuilt more than once, it was obvious it was an old church. The outside was beautiful stone, the pews were quite a bit different from modern pews and it had a calming feel to it.
This church has more statues than you would expect considering how small the building is. I was especially impressed with St. Joan of Arc, an amazing woman, and St. Theresa, my Mom’s favorite saint. There is a candle that will remain lit for the entire Lenten season as a continuous prayer to St. Joseph for the unemployed. I walked around, enjoying the quiet and calm. I admired the statues, even the Infant of Prague (as a kid, the one my parents had creeped me out), and even sat down for a few minutes.
Just being inside felt special. I spent a few minutes thinking about all of the people who have been in that church since 1770. I even wondered if any famous people had sat in the same pew I was in. I don’t think I can adequately explain what a positive impact the visit had on me. I am very glad I took the time to go inside.
The above photo can be found on the Basilica’s web site: http://www.psichurch.com/churches/140stlouis/history.html (110)