The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, also known as the Saint Louis Cathedral, is a cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church located in the Central West End area of St. Louis, Missouri.This post is about my visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Missouri.
” I do not understand
the mystery of GRACE-
only that it meets us where we are
but does not leave us
where it found us “
~ Anne Lamott
Slowly I made my way to the Cathedral Basilica of St.Louis, that morning, I had seen the distinctive green dome making a statement in the St.Louis skyline, as we entered the city the previous day, not knowing what it was, I mentally made a note to visit this place when I found out what it was.
Little did I know, it was bang opposite where we stayed in the city during our trip there, this time. I had passed by this city, many a time in the past, but never once stayed in this city .So that morning I crossed the street, to make my way to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
I was excited to see what was inside the Romanesque architecture made with granite walls , rose windows and mighty towers. The main dome rested on an elevated drum pierced by Romanesque windows, the pitched roof covered in brilliant green tiles a prominent sight that one could not miss. Brilliant sunlight flooded every leaf and flower that grew along the path filling my soul with excitement as I walked towards the entry way.
Do you see them, them rays? ……masked as shiny light, those tiptoeing angels, sprinkling their magic all around in rainbow colors ?? I forgot to breathe, it seemed like , there was no one else on the street, time stood still, a tranquil peace filled the air, for me to absorb all that magic in, reaffirming what I felt deep within ….
Grace encircled the space with its magic, words fail and you are stuck with the wonderment of it all , each ray of light holds the rainbow within. Who put them there , on a clear sunny day ? The Good Shepherd surely knows his lambs, I thought , as I walked towards the entrance to the Basilica….
Having never been into a Basilica before, belonging to a different faith, not knowing the customs to follow, I paused at the entry way, wondering if it was OK to walk in, but the desire in me to see this place was so great, I pushed the door open…..
It opened ever so gently, not a creak….what greeted me inside took my breath away..
A long corridor with gold paint & etching on the roof, greeted me…. it was so mesmerizing that I stood rooted to the spot and gazed and gazed, until I heard a movement behind the entry desk. I had not noticed until then, a man dressed in saintly robes nodded kindly ushering us, as if to say, “It’s OK, to stand and gaze” and I gazed some more.
It was later that I came to know that this was the largest collections of mosaics in the world, created by 20 different artists covering 83,000 square feet, containing 41.5 million pieces of glass tessare employing over 7000 colors, began in 1912 and completed in 1988.
It took me a while to come to my senses and look further inside and remember where I was.There was no one else inside, just us and the Almighty ! I had only wanted to see what was inside, but suddenly a tear seemed to sting at the corner of my eyes….what a glorious welcome, the Divine has laid in front of me, I thought as I gently made my way inside.
He welcomed us with open arms, so we had no other interruptions. I filled my heart with the beautiful sight, taking in as much as my senses could absorb….
A strange peace filled me, like invisible giant arms hugged me in that space, …..the PRESENCE was certainly felt. Slowly I walked towards the altar taking in all the beauty and imagining all the love and prayers that must have gone into building this house of God.
Each one of us, who enters this holy space envisions the Almighty in their own making and he silently listens to them all, both man and the chirping bird outside, answering their prayers at the appropriate time….great indeed is his kingdom, greater still his heart, I thought.
As I walked thru the aisles heading to the altar, I thought of the millions of prayers that must have been uttered on these benches on bent knees, heavy hearts and wet eyes, for healing ,happiness and good health. Like the sun rays that seemed to stream into every corner of the Basilica, filling the room with LIGHT, so must be the blessings filling lives each day…….
The splendid woodwork on the prayer benches spoke volumes, the Holy Bible was tucked in front of each bench, some with worn pages, some ear marked, yet each page turned with faith and trust in the Divine plan, yet to unfold………..
On either side of the main altar stood long passageways, radiating light…..
The LIGHT that entered the Basilica seemed to cascade a million fold thru those amazing Romanesque glass art windows, scattering blessings all around, chasing darkness away.
The pillars stood tall on either side, majestically witnessing perhaps for many years all the souls that came to pray under this roof. A teacher once explained to me in my earlier days, while describing the pillars in a temple, she said ” These pillars hold the sacredness of the millions of chants that might have been recited under this very roof, chants that heal, nourish & protect”
Chants/Hymns are believed to be positive vibrations carrying energy, with the power to heal, and these pillars that stood in a temple church or mosque always held the positive healing vibrations blessing each soul that came within its confines.Hence the pillars in a place of worship had held great significance for me from as long as I can remember.
It was then, that I looked up at the majestic domes, filled with splendor and beauty….
I remember being told, in a church you light candles to offer your prayers and so we did ….
The picture of Mother Mary has always held a special place in my heart, perhaps the kindness that shone thru her eyes(reading Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes, book about Our Lady of Gaudeloupe , intensified the understanding).She indeed is a blessed Mother to bring this child to the world. I stood at her feet, awed by her strength & kindness.Something about this statue gave me spirit bumps, I stood there for a long time, words failed….
Hearing footsteps beside me as I prayed, I turned around an old man stood beside me, he looked like the janitor who cleaned the wood work, had a dust cloth in his hand, he greeted us kindly and said, “Lady , you have come in the Blessed season of Easter, don’t forget to get your blessing. Do visit the Blessed Sacrament Chapel on your right, before you leave,I nodded in gratitude and just like he came, he disappeared.Miracles abound when you believe in them!
I walked into the chapel, which was practically empty except for a nun kneeling in the front row deep in prayer. I sat a few rows behind her making sure I tiptoed in , not to disturb her prayer.
Just like in any other sacred place, I asked the Divine to show me a sign of his presence, nothing happened for a long time, I waited…suddenly the nun reached into her habit to get something out, I thought perhaps her rosary beads ?
She pulled out a chapstick and applied it gently to her lips, while continuing to pray, something about it brought a big smile to my face…we are ALL human after all ! A good enough sign for me that the Almighty is watching over us.
I always believed that the Divine had a sense of humor, the fear creating, punishing God was not for me.If you keep your eyes open to witness how he/she chooses to deliver that to you, you will see “postcards from the Divine” all around you!
From what seemed like a long time, I stepped out in the cool breeze of the morning, thankful that I visited this place, admiring the flowers that grew along the walls of this beautiful place, I suddenly noticed….
….”An Angel Of Harmony” with wings made of wind chimes, I stood beneath the statue looking up at the bright blue sky, with a great sense of joy & happiness .
A sudden gust of wind, set the wind chimes in motion, musical as it was, it completed the quote for me, “ I do not understand the mystery of grace, only that it never leaves us in the place that it found us ” ~ Anne Lamott.
Hope you enjoyed my post on our visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Missouri. If you have not visited this place , and you live in the midwest or are passing through the city, please make a stop here. Not only is the architecture and the mosaics breathtaking, there is a certain presence of grace ,you feel so strongly here.
If you have visited the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis earlier, do share your experiences in the comments section below.
Wishing you & your families a blessed Easter !
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Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.
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Beautiful detail – love exploring cathedrals and enjoy the history!
Thank you. Glad you learn that enjoyed my blog post on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis!
Wow, how beautiful! Your pictures are gorgeous!
Thank you,so appreciate your kind words and for letting me know, that means a lot to me!
Beautiful pictures! I love looking at the beautiful statues and stained glass…always breathtaking. We have a gorgeous basilica here that is an International landmark. Marble everything!
Thank you for your kind words. Me too, I enjoy looking at beautiful statues, stained glass and architecture. When you write “the Basilica here that is an International Landmark” which place do you mean? I love traveling & to learn about new places to visit as a tourist in a new place.
Oh wow!!! These pictures are beautiful and I’m sure do not give it justice. I would love to go visit. Hopefully, someday! I love going into churches of different faiths and feeling the love of God there.
Thank you. You are so right about the pictures not doing justice to the beautiful architecture & the mosaics there. It is much more beautiful to look at when you are at the Cathedral itself.I so relate to your sentiment, of visiting places of worship in different faiths & feeling the PRESENCE of the Almighty there too !
This is a beautiful post. Reading it, I felt as if I was right there with you touring. I love the pictures. It looks like such a magnificent place. I have been to that city only once, and now I wish I could have visited this basilica. Thank you for the tour!
Thank you for your kind words, so appreciate it.It certainly is a beautiful place to visit when you are in the city next. It stands out magnificently forming a prominent part of the city’s skyline as you enter the city.You can’t miss the green dome! Enjoy!
This is in St Louis? I had no idea! We go there all the time
Yup, it is! We had driven thru the city many a time in passing, but this was our first visit to the Basilica too. It is so beautiful & so worth it. I hope you get to visit it some time soon , when things settle down with the pandemic.
Beautiful place! We love visiting places like this.
Thank you. Same here!
Wow, stunning. The beauty in these old cathedrals always takes my breath away.
Totally agree with you on that. Thank you.
Wow, it looks amazing!
Thank you, so appreciate your kind words.
Those glass art windows and domes are incredible. Your writing and photos made me feel like I was experiencing it too.
Thank you, for your kind words, so glad to hear that!
I loved your story and your thought process walking through the cathedral. The way you shared your story, I felt like I was experiencing it myself. It’s incredible how the Holy Spirit works in that way through others. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, so happy to hear that ! Such are the ways of the Divine, forever grateful .
I loved these photos and reading about your visit to the Cathedral, Maya. The church is truly amazing and awe-inspiring and I felt as if I was there on the visit with you. Thanks so much for sharing the beauty and grace of this place with us here! Blessings to you, my friend. <3
Thank you, dear Marielena for stopping by my blog and sharing your kind words.Yes, this is truly an amazing place filled with grace and peace, you feel the PRESENCE as you walk down the aisle.Sunlight like Grace streams thru every glass art window & fills the space & your very soul. Many blessings to you, my friend <3
Amazing article Maya…loved the photographs… It was as though I was practically in the church offering my prayers and enjoy the beautiful surroundings… Thank you for this wonderful experience.
Thank you, Chethana, for stopping by my blog and reading the article, and sharing your kind words. It sure was an amazing place, the energy within is so deeply felt as peace & calm & awe surrounds you amidst the brilliant architecture. May the blessing reach each one of us every day of life.