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Blake Pontchartrain: the statues inside St. Louis Cathedral

Three figures represent hope, faith and charity

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Hey Blake,

There are three statues above the altar at St. Louis Cathedral of saints or figures that I don't recognize. Can you enlighten me?

Dear reader,

  There are many beautiful symbols inside St. Louis Cathedral, a building that dates to 1851. The present building is the third to stand on this site. The first church was erected in 1727, only nine years after the city's founding. According to church historians with the Archdiocese of New Orleans, elements of the earlier buildings are included in the present structure.

  The statues represent the three virtues: hope (to the left of the altar), faith (in the center) and charity (on the right). The statue of hope is holding an anchor, which long has been a symbol of hope. The statue of faith is a female figure with a cross and a chalice for the Holy Eucharist. The statue depicting charity is holding two small children. A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said the statues and altar are from 1851, when the cathedral was renovated. They were created in Ghent, Belgium. On the wall behind them are inscribed the words "Ego sum Via e Veritas et Vita," which means "I am the way, the truth and the life." Above that is a mural depicting King Louis IX, later canonized St. Louis King of France, announcing the Seventh Crusade. The mural dates from 1872. Near the rear of the church is a statue of St. Louis, placed there in 2008.

  There are two other statues on the main altar, one depicting St. Peter, standing to the right of the tabernacle and holding a key, and St. Paul, who is on the left and holding a book. Other statues in the cathedral depict St. Joan of Arc (installed in 1920), Our Lady of Prompt Succor, St. Joseph, St. Anthony of Padua and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the foyer are statues depicting Mary, Queen of Poor Souls and St. Therese of Lisieux. The newest statue, located outside the cathedral, depicts St. John Paul II, the pope who visited the cathedral during his visit to New Orleans in 1987. The statue, a gift of the American Italian Cultural Center, was dedicated in January.

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