Today was 28 degrees and felt like 32 with clear blue skies. A good day to take it easy and not walk as hard as yesterday. Monica and I spent the morning and afternoon exploring the history of Saint Charles (once the state capital of Missouri) and the many quaint shops along Main Street … just a couple of kilometers from our hotel. This is a city although it has more of a town feel and is the place where Lewis and Clark set off up the Missouri River in 1804 to explore the west. When they returned two years later, they made this their home. This was also the home of Daniel Boone (also a pioneer and explorer) and the home of sister Rose Philippine who was beatified (made a saint) as one of only a few Americans to receive sainthood.
We took our time getting around and didn’t arrive on Main Street until 9:30. Even so, the shops where still not open until 10. So the first thing was to visit St. Charles Borromeo church to get some pics of the windows. Blues predominate the colors and all windows have a very similar structure and composition. The church is bright and airy and the rose window in the south is remarkable.
Next we visited the Shrine of Saint Philippine Duchesne… born in France in 1769 and came to America as a young nun in the Order of the Sacred Heart to work with the Indians. She started several schools in the area and died in Saint Charles in 1852, was buried on this site, beatified in 1940 and canonized in 1988 by Pope John Paul II. The Shrine to her life and work is understated as she would have wanted. We walked in an were greeted by the most gracious Jeanine who is a retired teacher at this school. When she learned of my passion for glass, she gave us a personal tour into the school library to see the stained glass windows that commemorate Saint Philippine’s life. We were so honored…not everyone gets this privilege.
Then we shopped and saw the sites. Most buildings along Main Street are original. Although they now house craft shops, restaurants and other modern businesses, each building has a historical plaque on the outside explaining what sort of business it was originally. Around the town are several sculptures and historic landmarks. A note of interest is just how dramatic the recent flooding of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers must have been. We saw tons and tons of uprooted trees and other debris that were deposited along the banks. Even some streets were covered in silt. The poor locals. River levels are now receding quickly and work crews were out cleaning up the mess.
Lunch was at Bradden’s for delicious salads and cold drinks… perfect on a hot day. Then back to the hotel before 4:00 for a dip in the pool.
Here are the photo highlights of day 25 – Historic Saint Charles