When Missouri became a territory of the United States in 1804 a large number of the Catholic clergy in the area left and the Catholic Church suffered. The Catholic Church fell on such hard times, in fact, that the log church built in 1777 in St. Louis was not cared for. It was crumbling and falling in. But then the right Reverend Louis William Valentine DuBourg arrived. He carried the title of Bishop of Louisana and the Floridas. St. Louis numbered a little under 1,500 people in 1804. Ten years earlier, another priest named Dunand had written, “Having arrived in St.Louis I found the district in a pitiful state. Deprived of priests and all spiritual aid, the morals of the people were entirely corrupt and ignorance of religion was so general that the inhabitants scarcely recognized the name Catholic.” Shortly after he arrived, Bishop DuBourg wrote, “My cathedral, whiich looks like a poor stable, is falling in ruins, so that a new church is absolutely necessary.” Just three days after Dubourg arrived, he had plans drawn for a new cathedral.
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