The Catholic history of Saint Louis:
Often called “the Rome of the Midwest” because of its Catholic roots, Saint Louis Pierre started as a fur trading post in 1763 and construction of a village, named for Louis IX of France, began the following year. Most of the early settlers were French, and of course many were associated with the fur trade. St. Louis transferred to the Spanish in 1770, returned to France under a secret treaty with Napoleon and, following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, became part of the United States.
The town gained fame in 1803 as the jumping-off point for the Louisiana Purchase Expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
Between 1840 and 1860, the population exploded with the arrival of many new immigrants. Germans and Irish were the dominant ethnic groups settling in St. Louis, especially in the wake of the German Revolution1832 (when public unrest grew in the face of heavy taxation and political censorship) and the Irish Potato Famine. Naturally, many of these immigrants were Catholic and so there is a deep Catholic history in the city.
One of the City’s great moments came in 1904, when it hosted a World’s Fair: the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. More than 20 million people visited the fair during its seven-month run, immortalized in the song “Meet Me in St. Louie, Louie.”
More recently, a sizeable number of Hungarian immigrants setteled here after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which was a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People’s Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from October 23 until November 10, 1956, that was ruthlessly put down by the Communist government.
And one more notable event was the visit by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 26-27, 1999. Among other events, he celebrated Mass for over 100,000 people.
Catholic places of interest in Saint Louis:
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis: magnificent mosaics
Saint Mary of Victories Church: (Hungarian church with hundreds of relics)
Shrine of Saint Joseph: site of two approved miracles.
The Oratory of Ss. Gregory & Augustine: Traditional Latin Mass
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