Monday, April 22, 2013

A Day of Symbolism (Part II) - The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

Earlier this month I drove for my grandson's class field trip. In preparation for their receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, which took place this past weekend, we visited was the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

According to the visitor's guide, the Cathedral's "unique design combines architecture of Romanesque style on the exterior with Byzantine style interior."

The cathedral contains one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world, containing 41.5 million pieces of glass in more than 7,000 colors. The cathedral was designated a basilica in 1997 by the late Pope John Paul II.

The photo above is of the main altar. There is not enough space to describe the beauty and symbolism of the basilica, but I'll give a snapshot of facts included in their visitor's guide.

"In the sanctuary dome, mosaics picture the twelve apostles bearing symbols of their lives. The large structure over the main altar is the 'baldachino' whose top dome imitates the main exterior dome of the Cathedral. The white marble figure of Christ crucified dominates the sanctuary.

"The central dome includes mosaic panels dedicated to the Holy Trinity. At the base of the dome is a rippling wave symbolizing water. Sixteen angels represent eight archangels and eight commemorative angels. The lower wall in the narthex is buff marble, symbolizing the earth. The mosaic panels above are paves with scenes about the life of Saint Louis IX, King of France, and patron saint of the City of St. Louis. The vaulted ceiling is covered by a swirling green vine symbolic of Christ."

Here's a description of one of the four side chapels. "The Blessed Virgin's Chapel was created by Tiffany Company of New York in the Italian style. Panels in the chapel depict Mary's presentation, annunciation, visitation to Elizabeth, and the assumption."

Last Saturday we were at the cathedral basilica again for my grandson's confirmation. His sister was his confirmation sponsor. it was a lovely day and an uplifting ceremony. Both grandchildren are shown on the left in front of the sign for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

If you get to St. Louis and want to be inspired, not just by beauty and artistry, but also from a sense of peace, visit the cathedral basilica at 4431 Lindell Blvd. (at Newstead Ave.).

Tours are available Sundays at 1:00 pm and Monday-Friday at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. Masses and Confessions are available at varying times throughout the day.

If you can't make the trip to St. Louis, you can learn about the cathedral's history and see some of its beauty on the cathedral website.


  1. It sounds beautiful. Congrats to your grandson on his confirmation day!

    Critter Alley

  2. Your grandson is providing you some interesting trips this spring! I have been by but never inside this Cathedral. Lovely...thanks for pictures!

  3. Hi Pat,
    Thanks. It was a great day!

    Hi Claudia,
    He is. Next month they go to Hannibal, but they're going on a bus and don't need drivers, darn it. Glad you enjoyed the photos.


  4. First, I have to apologize for being so late to the party! :-) Goodness, something about the spring gets away from me. But I'm here now and have thoroughly enjoyed myself, catching up! Big congrats on Confirmation day (and how special to have a sister as a sponsor!) and yay for your essay being included in Well-Versed (I'd seen the cover on FB).

    Also liked what your editing friend had to say about not telling. I don't always *follow* that good advice, but I liked it. :-)

    Happy spring, Donna!

  5. Hi Cathy,
    So happy you stopped by, and it's never too late to come to the party.
    Thanks for your kind words.
    Hope you have a lovely spring in Georgia. Those Braves are surely doing well this season.

  6. Donna, How proud you must be of these children. thanks for the photos and info. This was very interesting information. I like side trips :) Can;t you just chaperone on the bus for next field trip?

  7. Congratulations on your grandson's confirmation! And the top photo reminded me of some of the pics my son's fiancee took when she was in Italy. The churches are so beautiful.

  8. Hi Linda,
    Side trips are fun. So far, the teacher hasn't requested chaperones on the bus.

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks. Italy is a beautiful country, and the churches are breath taking.


  9. Great photo of the grandkids! I don't think I've ever been to the Cathedral!


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