2016 Sunset Report

OLG & DCRT Strategic Plan
2020-21 through 2024-25


Did you know?

Colonial Catholicism Events Surrounding the Purchase A Wall of Separation The Battle of New Orleans
W.C.C. Claiborne and The State Seal The Arrival of Religious Diversity Religion, Race, and Slavery Antonio Sedella & Religious Diversity

On the eve of the Purchase, some of the territory’s small number of Catholic religious expressed their desire to continue serving under the auspices of the Spanish Crown rather than face the difficulties that they feared would accompany Louisiana’s acquisition by the United States. Others, like Father Antonio Sedella, decided to stay until the French government could appoint replacements. Sedella’s decision would prove momentous in Church affairs.

Slow communications among Catholic officials aggravated an already complicated situation and resulted in an ecclesiastical crisis at the St. Louis Cathedral. In 1805 lay trustees (called marguilliers) and congregation members expressed their preference that Sedella remain as their pastor. Father Patrick Walsh believed he held legitimate authority in the diocese. According to historian Father Charles Edwards O’Neill, “Walsh withdrew to the chapel of the Ursuline nuns and laid an interdict upon the cathedral. Thus was born the Schism of 1805.”

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Prie Dieu
c. 1830
This early nineteenth-century Prie Dieu, or prayer bench, is typical of those Catholics used to say prayers in their homes in colonial and antebellum Louisiana. With so few priests scattered over such great distances, especially in rural areas, worshipping and praying in one’s home was common.

Gift of Mrs. Yvonne G. Sayres and Mr. John Hyllected Sibley

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Bishop Luis Ignacio Maria de Peñalver y Cárdenas (1749-1810)
c. 1800
José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza
Luis Ignacio Maria de Peñalver y Cárdenas was appointed the first Bishop of Louisiana and the Floridas shortly after the Diocese was created in 1793 and was consecrated in Havana. He first arrived in New Orleans in 1795. Cárdenas was transferred to the see of Guatemala in 1801. His absence, combined with the general uncertainty that followed the Louisiana Purchase, led to a crisis in the Catholic Church in Louisiana and contributed to the Schism in the St. Louis Cathedral in 1805.

The Diocese commissioned Louisiana’s first known artist, José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza, to do this portrait. According to Church records, he was paid 100 pesos for the painting.

Loaned by the Archdiocese of New Orleans