History and Interior Elements

History Overview

  • Dominicans founded St. Rose Parish in Springfield, KY in 1806. It is the oldest Dominican Church in the United States
  • St. Louis Bertrand Church was established in 1866
  • Matthew Anthony O’Brien bought all property originally to build the Church
  • The present day English-Gothic Church was built in 1870-dedicated 1873.
  • In 1947, a renovation of the Church was undertaken. The interior of the Church was almost completely repainted. The floor of the Church was torn-up and a radiant heating system was installed prior to the laying down of the new floor. The final renovation of the Church was the design and installation of three new altars. The main marble altar was broken up and buried under the passageway between the two sacristies, however the marble altar rail remains. The pews, confessionals, high altar and the wood carvings date from this renovation.
  • The old school building, now the Parish Center, was built in 1866, and houses the Parish Office. It was originally built as the Dominican Friars’ Priory and served as a seminary for the Archdiocese of Louisville and the Dominicans. It was only operational as a seminary for one year in 1867 and then closed, remaining a residence for the Dominicans until 1890 when it was converted into the parish school in 1890. The school was run by laity and Dominican Sisters until it closed in 1970.

Shrines and Stained Glass Windows

  • The shrines in the Church are: Blessed Margaret of Castello (1983) & Lourdes Grotto (1884). The Lourdes Grotto was renovated in 1984.
  • The circular stained glass window by the Lourdes Grotto depicting Our Lady of Purgatory (directly above the entrance to shrine) is original to the Church.
  • Each of the large Stained Glass Windows is a Mystery of the Rosary (early 1900’s)
  • The original stained glass window near the Sacristy (right) is of St. Joseph; and on the left side is Our Lady of the Rosary (rectangular window).
  • The large stained glass windows in the sanctuary and nave of the church from the early 20th Century were done in the Munich Style. Each window was made up of small colored glass pieces that were coated with an overlay color and tracing lines before being fired and leaded.
  • Stained glass windows top of the sanctuary - left to right: St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Matthew, Mark, Jesus Christ, Luke, John, St. Benedict and St. Bonaventure.
  • The large stained glass windows in the body of the church depict the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, beginning with the Joyful mysteries front right and ending with the last Glorious mystery, the Crowning of Mary as Queen of heaven, front left.

Baldacchino and Wood Carvings

  • The interior of the church was renovated in 1947; the pews, confessionals, high altar and the wood carvings date from this renovation.
  • The Dominican Saints were carved in wood above the high altar (baldacchino) and the high pulpit in the 1940’s by artists from Oberammagau, Germany.
  • On the left is Our Lady of the Rosary Altar which includes the 15 traditional Mysteries of the Rosary (stained glass windows)
  • On the High Pulpit (from left to right): St. Vincent Ferer, St. Dominic, Christ the King, St. Peter, St. Paul
  • Left- St. Agnes of Montepulciano
  • Right- St. Martin De Porres
  • Baldacchino (over the High Altar) includes the following:
    • 8 Dominican Saints (front)- St. Catherine of Siena, St. Catherine DiRicci, St. Margaret of Hungary, St. Rose of Lima, St. Pope Pius V, St. Antoninus, St. Albert the Great, St. Hyacinth
    • 4 Dominican Saints (back)- St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of Cologne, St. Mary Magdelene, St. Peter Martyr of Verona
    • 1 Dominican Saint (archway)- Christ the King
    • 1 Dominican Saint (top)- St. Louis Bertrand
  • St. Joseph Altar (right)
    • Depiction of the death of St. Joseph, St. Joseph himself, and the flight into Egypt with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus
    • Shield of the Province of St. Joseph showing lilies (sign of purity) and carpenter tools

Organ history and technical specifications

A major renovation of the interior of the Church was undertaken in 1947 during the tenure of the Very Rev. Father John A. Foley, O.P., Prior and Pastor, and with the support of the Dominican Community. The Roosevelt Company Opus 61 pipe organ was built in 1879 with three manuals and 31 registers. As part of the overall church renovation project, the organ was dismantled by the M¨aut;ller Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland, and taken to their shops for a complete overhaul. Several sets of pipes from the Roosevelt organ were incorporated into the M¨aut;ller reconstruction.

Originally, the organ was enclosed in the North Tower, speaking through grill work into the choir loft, and not directly into the nave. The rebuilt instrument returned to the same location, but the loft itself had been lowered by several feet. Due to extreme temperature changes in that elevated location in the choir loft, rubber gaskets and other parts aged prematurely

Given the problematic location in the North tower, the M¨aut;ller instrument suffered the same fate as it predecessor. In the early 1970's, considerable thought was given to possible improvements. In time, plans were solidified leading to the signing of a contract for a new instrument under the guiding hand of the Very Rev. Father John L. Sullivan, O.P., Prior and Pastor. The E. H. Holloway Corporation of Indianapolis, IN, was hired to manufacture a new instrument, and charged with using sets of pipes from the previous instrument. An excerpt from the Dedication Program states: “The new instrument is unique in that it is constructed of slider and pallet, electro-pneumatic wind chests, made with dimensionally stable materials, an exclusive feature of all Holloway organs. The organ has 24 stops and 21 ranks of pipes, for a total of 1213 pipes. These are contained in three divisions and controlled by a console of two manuals. This is a most comprehensive instrument, capable of playing all schools of the organ literature, as well as containing a variety of voices for the regular worship services. In fond appreciation of his devotion to St. Louis Bertrand Church, the organ was ‘affectionately dedicated to the memory of Mr. N. Bruce Brennan.’”

The tin pipes are polished to a high luster. Other metal pipes are made from blended materials, primarily tin and nickel, producing a characteristic “spotted” metal, attractive in its own way. In 2001, a long standing void was filled with the addition of 21 tubes of Deagan Class A chimes. They were presented by Father George G. Christian, O.P., and his brother Richard, in memory of their parents: George and Anna Christian.

St. Louis Bertrand Organists through the years, each one contributing their special talents to enhance the liturgical celebrations, are:

Mr. & Mrs. “Gus” Vanderhaar
William “Bill” Ballard
Philip “Pip” Hines
Anthony “Tony” Clemons (since 1991)

Specifications of the Saint Louis Bertrand Organ
E. H. Holloway - 1970's
Great Division
Principal 8' 61 pipes
Concert Flute 8' 61 pipes
Dolce 8' 61 pipes
Octave 4' 61 pipes
Fourniture (19-22) II ranks 122 pipes
Fifteenth 2' 61 pipes
Zimbel (26-29) II ranks 122 pipes
Chimes 21 tubes

Swell Division
Gedeckt 8' 61 pipes
Salicional 8' 61 pipes
Vox Celeste 8' 61 pipes
Principal 4' 61 pipes
Flute Harmonic 4' 61 pipes
Wald Flute 2' 61 pipes
Larigot 1-1/3' 61 pipes
Oboe 8' 61 pipes
Tremulant

Pedal Division
Principal 16' 32 pipes
Subbass 16' 32 pipes
Octave 8' 32 pipes
Bourdon 8' 12 pipes
Choralbass 4' 12 pipes
Rauschquinte (12-25) II ranks 12 pipes
Double Trumpet 16' 32 pipes
Trumpet 8' 12 pipes
Clarion 4' 12 pipes

Who Are We? Past and Present of St. Louis Bertrand Church

Who Are We? Past and Present of St. Louis Bertrand Church
1/31/16 Bulletin

The large stained glass windows in the sanctuary and nave of the church were done in the Munich Style. The windows were installed in the early 20th century.

The Munich Pictorial Style developed out of the Royal Bavarian Stained Glass Establishment in 1827 under Ludwig I of Bavaria.

Munich style windows are recognizable and respected for their elaborate, finely executed painting. The style was composed of painting on relatively large glass panels (as opposed to the medieval technique of smaller pieces of colored glass) held in a leaded framework. Each window was made up of small colored glass pieces that were coated with an overlay color and tracing lines before being fired and leaded.

“Christ, saints, heavenly hosts, and ordinary people are attired in jeweled tone and richly embroidered fabrics. Backgrounds contain intricately woven tapestries and finely laced cloths. Throughout the narrative scenes are lush plantings and a multitude of flowers each so well rendered that botanical identity is possible. The abundant landscaping is reflective of the Romanticist’s belief that nature can be the source for the spiritual experience.”

Stained glass windows top of the sanctuary - left to right: St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Matthew, St. Mark, Jesus Christ, St. Luke, St. John, St. Benedict and St. Bonaventure.

The large stained glass windows in the body of the church depict the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, beginning with the Joyful mysteries front right and ending with the last Glorious mystery, the Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven, front left.


Who Are We? Past and Present of St. Louis Bertrand Church
2/7/16 Bulletin

Richard J. Meaney, O.P. was born in the Limerick section of Louisville in 1859. The following is an excerpt from his memoir of the building of St. Louis Bertrand Church: “During the summer of 1869, the Dominican Fathers began the erection of a new Church, the present stone Church of St. Louis Bertrand. It was under the direction of Bishop Lavielle, who died in 1868, that they erected the large convent at an expense of $90,000. He intended that this should be the Diocesan Seminary we well as the House of Theology for the Dominican students. When Bishop McCloskey arrived in 1869, he changed all the plans of his predecessor and this left the Dominican Fathers with a large house and a large debt for neither of which they had any use. The parish was growing rapidly, however, and the Fathers were eager to build a Church for the future. They had plans for a Gothic Church. Lack of funds caused the real Gothic features to be sacrificed, until nothing but a few pointed arches answered to the original design.”


Who We Are: The History of St. Louis Bertrand Church
3/6/16 Bulletin

During the 1937 flood, the property of the Dominican Fathers at St. Louis Bertrand Church was a collection point for refugees. In the absence of the pastor and prior, his vicar, Fr. John McCadden, O.P. took charge of the refugees. About 350 of them were bedded and housed on the second and third floors of the school. One classroom became the infirmary and the office of the nurses under Dr. Charles M. Edelen, M.D., a parishioner from childhood. The first floor of the school was used only for entrance and exit. The parish offices in the uncloistered part of the priory were converted into places of rest for the doctor and the nurses on duty. Nobody went home; this was to be home for several days. In the priory kitchen as well as in the one of a good neighbor, Mr. Sam Blostein, food was prepared for the refugees. Women volunteers from the parish cooked and washed dishes. Water for the washing of dishes was boiled for purification over a fire in the yard back of the priests' house, which was above the flood level. Food was carried to the school on a walkway, constructed of wooden planks, from the sacristy of the church to the back entrance of the school. This walkway was supported by old school desks to set it above the flood waters.


Who We Are: The History of St. Louis Bertrand Church
4/3/16 Bulletin

The parish and the priests both were very active forces in both neighborhood and diocese. Fr. Robert Gregory Lyons, OP was assigned to St. Louis Bertrand Church in 1914. He spent 42 of his 51 years a priest at St. Louis Bertrand. At 17, he had been a sparring partner for both John L. Sullivan and “Gentleman” Jim Corbett, and did so well that Sullivan encouraged the 185 lb. teenager to enter the ring. They continued to keep in touch for years after Father's ordination. During his tenure, Fr. Lyons baptized at least 632 persons and officiated at 1,038 marriages. He led the parish contingent in the St. Patrick's Day parade, directed the parish Holy Name Society, coached the baseball teams, while also serving as chaplain for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the Sisters of Mercy, the Dominican Sisters and the Carmelites, who were then neighbors and Sixth and Park. Around 1914, there was a House of Corrections on the present site of the University of Louisville and its Catholic chaplain was Fr. Lyons. An anniversary article emphasized that "his kindness, his softly-spoken but moving sermons and understanding counsel, have long been a by-word in the parish and throughout the city.”


Who We Are: The History of St. Louis Bertrand Church
5/15/16 Bulletin

Fr. Jerome Meaney, born in Louisville and raised in St. Lou-is Bertrand Parish, was the first Dominican priest from the parish. Following is from his personal memoirs of the early days of the parish:

It was here I had my first experience working on a building with men. I worked all summer and have often recalled with a shudder how I used to run along the clerestory walls fifty feet or more above the ground. The big “A” beams were framed outside and put together on the floor below. A scaffolding was built on the clerestory walls and on this scaffold, a derrick to raise the big beams which weighed about fifteen tons each. John Casey and I had the job of swinging the beams around after they were raised and letting them down into the anchor bolts on the clerestory walls. After everything was ready it took about three hours to raise each beam. One day we were raising the third beam from the rear end, and Father Meagher had come up on the scaffold to see us work. Just as the beam reached the proper height to swing around the Angelus bell nearby rang and Dan Cantwell, who was at the crank of the derrick, let go and took off his hat to say the Angelus with the rest. At the same time Casey and I had given the word “let go”, but Casey saw Cantwell as he let go the derrick crank. He made a quick jump from the wall to the scaffold and threw his weight on the crank just in time. Another second or two and the big beam would have gone crashing down and would have carried all of us with it to the floor below. Casey broke two fingers of his left hand and was laid up for several weeks. The incident was soon forgotten. In fact, none of us at the time realized the close call we had.