27 October 2014

St. Louis in St. Louis, St. Louis in France

I apologize for the light blogging, but sometimes fun gets in the way. My wife and I are blessed enough to be able to anticipate our 25th wedding anniversary by visiting our eldest daughter in France, and spending some time in Spain before returning to normal life in these most abnormal times.

I've been checking in on the news when I can. I suppose you could already guess my general take on it, if you've ever read here for at least seven seconds. But I might do a roundup about all that late this week.

That being said, it seems that the presence of Saint Louis surrounds our journey both before and during. I posted earlier on the very beautiful procession and vespers with benediction at the Oratory. Well, I wanted to link to a really nice article by Jennifer Brinker at the St. Louis Review covering the same. At the link is a beautiful slideshow of the occasion, too.


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.


According Canon Wiener, it's "permissible and profitable" to venerate the relics of the saints. "The bodies of the saints were living members of Christ and Temples of the Holy Ghost. They will again be awakened and glorified, and through them God bestows many benefits on mankind," he said.

In his sermon, Archbishop Carlson described the city's patron saint as "a husband, a father, a man of justice and faith." St. Louis once said that the day of his baptism was far more important than being crowned King of France in 1234.

"St. Louis served his subjects with kindness, building hospitals and homes for those in need as well as serving food to the poor," the archbishop said.

St. Louis serves as a great example in making our city a better place.

"There are challenges in our city — poverty, violence, injustice and a lack of respect for human life, to name a few," he said. "With courage may we dare to dream how we can help. God is influencing every good thing we do."

As the procession proceeded around the oratory, neighbors on nearby Iowa Avenue came out of their homes to see what was going on. Esmeralda Herrejon and her family from O'Fallon were visiting friends when they heard the sharp blasts of a bagpipe. Herrejon, who attends Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne Prairie, said she had never seen an outdoor procession like this.

"I see it as a public display of faith," she said. "It's good to see people are still believers."

Here in France, there has been a surprising (to me, in such a secular country) amount of attention paid to the 800th Anniversary of the birth of Saint Louis. Sharon and I hit a sizable temporary exhibit on the saint at the Conciergerie in Paris. That seemed ironic to me, as the Conciergerie was in some sense the anteroom of the guillotine, at least for Marie Antoinette (I remarked to my wife that the Conciergerie is infamous for briefly detaining me-- and Marie Antoinette). The exhibit was very well done, and held some remarkable surprises, including the shirt in which he died, his cilice (discipline) and hair shirt, as well as his seal, and the charter of Saint-Chapelle. There were also reliquaries, containing his relics, and a thorn from the Crown of Thorns which of course he built Saint-Chapelle to house. Speaking of, there were some of the remains of the original statuary of Sainte-Chapelle, sacked courtesy of the Revolutionaries whose ideological descendants will kill us and sack our remaining churches soon. Finally, his personal Bible and Missal, and much, much more, as they say.

We also toured Sainte-Chapelle itself, which speaks of the personal piety and integrity of the great man in a form so beautiful it cannot be described.

Still in Paris, we visited the Cluny Museum (Museum of the Middle Ages), which puts into context the political, artistic and spiritual milieu of his day. If you ever get to Paris, this museum should not be missed, and particularly so for Catholics. The sheer number and quality of the items preserved are astounding. Among its treasures are a number of items from Sainte-Chapelle, and the reclaimed heads of the Kings of Judah that used to reside atop their bodies on the façade of Notre Dame-- sacked courtesy of the Revolutionaries whose ideological descendants will kill us and sack our remaining churches soon.

After Paris, we traveled to Angers, where the castle built by Blanche of Castile, Louis' mother, still sits majestically overlooking the Maine River. Saint Louis spent considerable time there in his youth. As great as this 12th century chateau is, and it is, the highlight of the place is the set of magnificent Apocalypse Tapestries, 66 huge panels depicting in great and moving beauty, pathos, and terror, the events recorded in the Apocalypse. Just the thing for my late mood.

As I posted yesterday, we were fortunate to come back to Paris for the Feast of Christ the King, assisting at the same Mass at which Saint Louis assisted, in the common language of our Church. Many different nationalities were represented there, but one common tongue, worshipping God as the Church has handed down. After Mass, the organ intoned the Salve Regina, in the arrangement known so well. As we all sang that hymn to Our Queen, in unison, together in song and in heart, it moved me to tears.

The restoration will come-- or something better. Be ready.

Just as the Apocalypse relates, and the tapestry so beautifully portrays, Christ, already victorious, will come to vindicate Himself, and us, at the end. The faith of Saint Louis is in the same God-Man in whom we believe. Our triumph will be in common if we hold true. May Saint Louis pray for us, may he ask blessings for our safe journey home and more so to our heavenly home.


Karen said...

How inspiring! Would love to see all of it, if not in this life, then even better later on.

Matthew Rose said...

Not quite the same Mass - I daresay the Roman Rite was not the rite of medieval France!

thetimman said...


You may have a better liturgical background than I do, of course. But I believe that the Gallican rites were fairly similar to the Roman Rite that was definitively codified after Trent; the Ambrosian and Mozarabic rites, left alone after Trent, have great similarity, though considered separate rites.

in any event, I would say that it bore a greater resemblance to the TLM of today than the N.O. does.

In all seriousness, if you have any information to enlighten me, I'd love to read it.

Barto said...

Happy to hear of your excellent trip to the former Kingdom of France.

I saw you mention seeing some of the results of the architectural destruction done by "Revolutionaries whose ideological descendants will kill us and sack our remaining churches soon."

It was Cardinal Suenens who exclaimed, “Vatican II is the French Revolution in the Church."

See: http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archbishop-Lefebvre/OpenLetterToConfusedCatholics/Chapter-14.htm

Cardinal Suenens was an ultra liberal cardinal at the Vatican II Council who approved of everything it did.

Here is more of what Cardinal Suenens said, from a book by Archbishop Lefebvre:

[Cardinal Suenens said]"One cannot understand the French or the Russian revolutions unless one knows something of the old regimes which they brought to an end… It is the same in church affairs: a reaction can only be judged in relation to the state of things that preceded it”. What preceded, and what he considered due for abolition, was that wonderful hierarchical construction culminating in the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on earth. He continued: “The Second Vatican Council marked the end of an epoch; and if we stand back from it a little more we see it marked the end of a series of epochs, the end of an age”.

Père Congar, one of the artisans of the reforms, spoke likewise: “The Church has had, peacefully, its October Revolution.” Fully aware of what he was saying, he remarked “The Declaration on Religious Liberty states the opposite of the Syllabus.” I could quote numbers of admissions of this sort. In 1976 Fr. Gelineau, one of the party-leaders at the National Pastoral and Liturgical Centre removed all illusions from those who would like to see in the Novus Ordo something merely a little different from the rite which hitherto had been universally celebrated, but in no way fundamentally different: “The reform decided on by the Second Vatican Council was the signal for the thaw… Entire structures have come crashing down… Make no mistake about it. To translate is not to say the same thing with other words. It is to change the form. If the form changes, the rite changes. If one element is changed, the totality is altered.., of must be said, without mincing words, the Roman rite we used to know exists no more. It has been destroyed.”

The Catholic liberals have undoubtedly established a revolutionary situation. Here is what we read in the book written by one of them, Monsignor Prelot, a senator for the Doubs region of France. “We had struggled for a century and a half to bring our opinions to prevail within the Church and had not succeeded. Finally, there came Vatican Il and we triumphed. From then on the propositions and principles of liberal Catholicism have been definitively and officially accepted by Holy Church.”

It is through the influence of this liberal Catholicism that the Revolution has been introduced under the guise of pacifism and universal brotherhood. The errors and false principles of modern man have penetrated the Church and contaminated the clergy thanks to liberal popes themselves, and under cover of Vatican II.