bishop dubourg

‘Rose-colored glasses’ provide vision for St. Louis

Bishop Louis W.V. DuBourg and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne were key builders for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

However, they always didn't see eye-to-eye. In fact, St. Philippine Duchesne lamented in a letter dated September 1823 that the visionary DuBourg "sees everything through rose-colored glasses," which is among the earliest written usages of the phrase to describe optimism when a situation calls for skepticism or doubt.

Bishop DuBourg’s arrival 200 years ago helped transform St. Louis into the ‘Rome of the West’

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In the second decade of the 1800s, Catholicism was teetering in the future Archdiocese of St. Louis.

"Catholics in the area had 'calloused hearts' and 'extreme indifferentism,'" an archdiocesan history reports. "There were few priests, religion practice was spasmodic and the quality of faith was uneven."

The church, at the site of the current Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, "was a tumbledown log building which needed a lot of repair." And the rectory was little more than a shack or barn, without doors, floors, windows and furniture.

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