Thursday, March 8, 2012

One More Glimpse at Grand Coteau

Although there were attractions that we missed in Grand Coteau, LA (see the reference to this observation in yesterday's entry), we did get a chance to see the interior of Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.

Near the church was this beautiful live oak-lined drive. Scenes like this are fairly common in southern Louisiana. Each time I see these magnificent trees, I will take time to look at them from different angles. But we didn't have time for this study today.

"On March 19, 1879, the cornerstone of the new church building was put into position and blessed.
The following year the church was consecrated under the title of the Sacred Heart. This was done by popular demand of the parishioners in gratitude to the Sacred Heart who had protected them from the yellow fever epidemic and to the Religious of the Sacred Heart who had donated one-third of the cost of construction of the new edifice. In recent years, the church was renamed under the original title of St. Charles Borromeo" (

Like many churches, it was open and we were able to view the interior. The greenish tint to the photos was due to the interior lighting and reflections off the walls.

"High above the main altar is a round window called the "Star of David Window." Within the star is a mother pelican feeding her young. Legend has it that, in times of famine, a mother pelican will pluck her own breast with her beak and feed her young with her blood, resulting in her death. The pelican thus became a symbol for Christ who poured out His blood willingly to save us. Moreover, Jesus continues to feed us with His body and blood in the holy Eucharist."

On either side of the main altar are two original windows. Left of the altar is St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits and on the right is St. Francis Xavier, the famous Jesuit missionary.

A second set of windows, now located in the transepts or side wings of the church, was installed in the 1920's. Also, paintings representing the four Evangelists can be seen on the walls of the transcept of the church.

In the left wing there is a depiction of the Annunciation to Mary by the Angel Gabriel and a painting representing Saint Matthew.

In the right wing is a portrayal of the Death of St. Joseph and a painting representing Saint John.

The final set of windows, depicting the twelve promises of the Sacred Heart, was installed in the main seating area of the church in the late 1940's.

The promise portrayed in this window is: "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

And the promise shown here is: "I will console them in all their troubles".

So while we had an interesting visit to Grand Coteau, we learned that we missed the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House, St. Charles College, Frozard Plantation, and a number of other historic homes.

More time at another time.

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