CatholicSTL250: A look back at a year of celebrations in honor of King Louis IX

Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice ushered in the New Year by celebrating midnight Mass on Jan. 1 at Holy Redeemer Church in Webster Groves, after closing the book on CatholicSTL250 in a holy hour preceding Mass.

In conjunction with the 250th anniversary of city's founding, CatholicSTL250 added a distinctly Catholic flavor to the festivities of last year, which is appropriate for the city nicknamed the "Rome of West" and named after a Catholic saint.

CatholicSTL250 concluding Mass

Bishop Edward Rice will lead a Holy Hour and celebrate Mass to welcome in the New Year on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at Holy Redeemer Church, 17 Joy Ave. in Webster Groves. The Holy Hour will begin at 11 p.m., followed by midnight Mass. The Mass will mark the conclusion of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the City of St. Louis and the CatholicSTL250 calendar of events.

Relic procession at St. Francis de Sales Oratory honors life and faith of St. Louis IX


The celebration of St. Louis last weekend at St. Francis de Sales Oratory was certainly fit for a king.

Nearly 250 people in their Sunday finest — many young families, with women in dresses and lace veils and men in crisp suits — processed the streets surrounding the south St. Louis Oratory Oct. 19 with a relic of St. Louis IX, King of France. The procession was followed by a sermon from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, evening prayer sung in Latin and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Archbishop Carlson to lead procession with relic of King St. Louis IX

An image of the relic of St. Louis IX.

ST. LOUIS – Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will lead a procession with a relic of King St. Louis IX, patron and namesake of the City of St. Louis, on Sunday, October 19. The solemn event will begin at St. Francis de Sales Oratory (2653 Ohio Ave.) at 5 p.m. Archbishop Carlson will give a homily about King St. Louis IX after the procession. A reception will follow in the church basement.

'King, Saint, Namesake' exhibit showcases St. Louis IX

Princess Marie-Margurite, left, and Prince Louis de Bourbon listened to Judith Mann, right, speak about the painting “Louis IX Venerating the Relic of the Crown of Thorns,” by Charles Coypel during a visit Aug. 25 to the St. Louis Art Museum. Prince Louis is a descendant of St. Louis IX, King of France. Mann is a co-curator of the exhibit “Louis IX: King, Saint, Namesake” at the St. Louis Art Museum. Also listening to Mann is Carl Hamm, the deputy director of external affairs for the museum.

For many St. Louisans, the statue of St. Louis keeping watch over the grand basin in Forest Park is the quintessential work of art depicting the city's patron saint.

But an exhibit of art related to King Louis on display at the St. Louis Art Museum offers an enlightening glimpse into how this holy man, who ruled France from 1226 until 1270, influenced art, in both life and sainthood. The exhibit is free and runs through Nov. 2.

"Louis IX: King, Saint, Namesake," spans two galleries and includes works typical of the middle 13th century and pieces commissioned long after his death.

Prince, princess are just 'good people'

As part of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis, Prince Louis de Bourbon and his wife, Princess Marie-Marguerite, were invited to visit the archdiocese. Prince Bourbon is a legitimate successor of the kings of France and a descendant of King Louis IX. He and his wife visited with school children at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, founded by St. Rose Phillipine Duchesne.

The man who could have been King Louis XX emerged from the back seat of his ride to the St. Louis Art Museum, about 500 feet from the famous statue of his namesake and ancestor -- St. Louis, on horseback overlooking Art Hill.

Yes, he's royalty, the eldest of the Bourbon line (hence, king, had the monarchy continued) and descended from our city's patron, King Louis IX of France. But you'd be hard-pressed to know that based on his five-day, four-night visit here in conjunction with CatholicSTL250 to celebrate St. Louis' feast day.

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