One Nation Under God The Church, The State, and the Louisiana Purchase
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
Colonial authorities provided permission for religious orders to settle in Louisiana and played an important role in legitimizing the authority of the Catholic Church. In return, priests and nuns played a critical role in settling Louisiana and ministering to the area’s inhabitants in ways both sacred and secular.
The Ursuline nuns, for example, established the colony’s first school for girls. After an arduous journey, the first group of Ursulines arrived in New Orleans on August 6, 1727. In the first letter she wrote after arriving in the city, Mother St. Augustin noted that “all the inhabitants try very hard to make us realize the joy they feel in having us for the education of their children.” The Ursuline Sisters also created instruments of worship that, over time, have proved to be enduring works of art.
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Antependium (Altar Cloth) made for the St. Louis Cathedral
This antependium, or altar cloth, was painstakingly crafted from gold and silver threads and was made in honor of the first Bishop of Louisiana and the Floridas, Luis Ignacio Maria de Peñalver y Cárdenas. Oral tradition holds that the Ursuline Nuns handcrafted it or commissioned its creation shortly after the diocese was created in 1793.