The Rome of The West
What comes to mind when you think of St. Louis? Cardinal’s baseball should probably be at the top of your list, possibly followed by the St. Louis Blues, but what’s your perception of the people and the community of St. Louis? My talk with Elizabeth Westhoff (as seen on the right), Director of Marketing for the Archdiocese of St. Louis (2015), reminded me of the origins of St. Louis, and between the ups and downs we experience, this city is more capable than some might expect of tenacity through conflict and compassion for one another.
Catholic or non-Catholic, I want you to imagine being in a comfortable environment, where your country is established and developed, and you are called upon by your leader to go serve for the good of another country. Not to fight in war, but to build, to invest, and to help grow someones community to maybe someday be as prosperous as your own. During the mid-1800’s, the first Bishop of St. Louis, Bishop DuBourg, requested missionaries to come and help the city of St. Louis and establish a strong foundation for its future development. By the 1860’s, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, one of the first missionaries to respond, was joined by many priests and other religious men and women who created, financed, and administered the hospitals, colleges, and schools that have shaped St. Louis. This was not a business investment or those leaving their homes in search for gold or better opportunities, but instead was a movement of those from worlds apart helping those they had really no connection to besides their own humanity. Most of these missionaries and priests were from France, an already well established and developed country at the time, who made the conscious choice to come and invest in the future of those they would never meet. This story should be realized as a champion for what it means to be a member of the St. Louis community. We wear our faith on our sleeves, we give back, and we invest in others success.
If you are local to St. Louis, Catholic or non-Catholic, know that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is a resource for community, outreach, and education about the faith. If you’re interested in learning more you can visit their site at archstl.org. For my readers who love Twitter as much as I do, be sure to also follow Elizabeth at (@ESWesthoff).
2019 Update: Elizabeth now works as the Press Secretary for Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, as well as the Director of Communications for the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.