We skipped our cruise ship's shore excursions to wander the streets of Castries to see what the town was like and to see how the St Lucians lived. We came across the Cathedral of Castries and were surprised to see that it was Roman Catholic, rather than Anglican. Although many of the islands of the eastern Caribbean were British, St Lucia was founded by the French, and Castries was named after a French nobleman. The British subsequently took over in the 1800s, but the French influence remained.
The Cathedral is quite large and rather attractive in a low key sort of way. In the Catholic style, there were side altars, and paintings on the walls depicting religious motifs, but there was not the magnificent artwork typical of the great churches of Europe. The ceiling was adorned with painted religious scenes, but they were rather faded. Below the roof were clerestory windows which provided a lot of interior illumination.
We visited on a Wednesday in midmorning, so there was no service underway, but there were a number of St Lucians seated around the church praying or experiencing the quiet contemplation that a church permits.
In the rear of the church was a sign indicating that there was a renovation fund to which we contributed. We hope that someday soon the proud St Lucians will be able to enhance the beauty of their cathedral.
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