Saint Joseph Shrine
Rome of the West. Where is it and what could possibly be grand enough to qualify any place with such a lofty title? The place is St. Louis, Missouri and the reason for the name is the Shrine of Saint Joseph located in the city proper. This magnificent structure was almost destined to be demolished in the 1970s because it had very few regular parishioners and was in a dangerous neighborhood. The future was bleak; despite the fact this shrine is the site of the only proven miracle in the Mid-west United States.
There was a cholera epidemic in the Midwest and parishioners that did not get the disease installed in the sanctuary the Altar of Answered Prayers. The top of the altar has a statue of the Sacred Heart while the main statue in the upper center is Saint Joseph with child Jesus. There are two side altars, one dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the other is dedicated by the Jesuits to encourage vocations to the priesthood. A feature very much reminiscent of the altar tombs in the catacombs of Rome is effigy prayer station dedicated to St. Justus.
What are the details of the miracle? It is 1864 and the neighborhoods around St. Joseph’s Shrine are thriving, wages help support the shrine, all is well. In March the famous missionary Father Francis Xavier Weninger comes to speak about then Blessed Peter Claver. This man, ultimately named a saint, is a patron of African slaves and the Negro race and was said to have special intercessory powers with Almighty God. There is a German immigrant worker that has suffered a serious injury, Ignatius Strecker, who is brought to the church and is allowed by Father Weninger to kiss a relic of Blessed Peter Claver. Strecker immediately regains much of his physical strength and returns to work fully healed shortly thereafter.
Another awesome cathedral is St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford,
Connecticut. It is stunningly beautiful! This cathedral is huge
and matches the devotion of the 1,800 people that can be accommodated
within. The edifice stands 281 feet high with a choir gallery
that seats 130. The choir is accompanied by an Austin built organ
with 8,000 pipes that has been described as a landmark in its
own right, separate from the cathedral. The stained glass windows
are an immense 67 feet high by 13 feet wide! The tower has 12
bronze bells, the heaviest 3,000 pounds. “Christ in Glory”
is the western world image of Christ seated on throne as the ruler
of the world. This is the image depicted on the largest ceramic
tile mural in the world in the world, which is to the rear of
the altar in this awesome building dedicated to St. Joseph, the
patron saint of the church universal.
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