Patricia Rice | St. Louis Public Radio

Patricia Rice

Patricia Rice is a freelance writer based in St. Louis who has covered religion for many years. She also writes about cultural issues, including opera.

In South St. Louis
File photo | Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon

Mehnaz Afridi was astonished to learn that half of this area’s Muslims are Bosnians. The Muslim scholar will be in the area March 31 to give the Lee Institute lecture on the issues faced by Muslim women. For many in St. Louis, one of the main issues is correcting misperceptions.

The great majority of Bosnians resettled here between 20 and 11 years ago to escape the former Yugoslavia’s devastating war of religious persecution in 1992-95. Members of the new generation, born in St. Louis, are now graduating from high school.

Civica Raccolta Stampe Bertarelli Milan | Wikipedia

The mad scene in Donizetti’s opera “Lucia di Lammermoor” helped Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas and Nellie Melba soar to stardom. This weekend at Winter Opera, St. Louis soprano Gina Galati will sing the title role with its famous aria "Il dolce suono.”

“Lucia” opens Friday evening at 8 p.m. at Chaminade’s Skip Viragh Center for the Arts, 425 S. Lindbergh Blvd., and will also be presented at 3 p.m. March 9.


In St. Louis’ first few years, more longtime residents of Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, Mine La Motte, Old Mines, Mo., Ste. Genevieve and the area moved to Laclede’s fur trading post. Land-owning small farmers, fur traders, miners, merchants from the region’s French settlements all came to Laclede’s settlement.

“Religion was a very strong reason. They just didn’t want to live under the English,” said Margaret Kimball Brown, author “History as They Lived It: A Social History of Prairie du Rocher.”

Private Collection / courtesy Kodner Gallery

As all in the area should know by now, 14-year-old Auguste Chouteau and his band of 30 “mechanics” unloaded their boat a bit south of the legs of today’s Gateway Arch 250 years ago on Feb. 15*. People may not know that this middle stretch of the upper Mississippi Valley was already rich with French settlements on both sides of the river. Residents, especially the younger generation, of those settlements would help St. Louis grow quickly.

Provded by Winter Opera

Andrew Stuckey, in town to sing the title role in Verdi’s “Falstaff” with Winter Opera,  stopped his car along Arsenal Street last week. The baritone grabbed his cell phone and snapped a selfie in front of a faded Falstaff beer ad.

File photo of Pope Francis
Flickr | Christus Vincit

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Pope Francis has 39 questions for his flock. A few hundred St. Louis Catholics who work or volunteer in ministry to families have begun filling out his survey. At most St. Louis Catholic churches, parishioners are waiting for their pastor to receive the survey and determine how they can respond. This is a historic first: a Vatican survey that includes the laity.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Too often today when people look at paintings that are more than 100 years old, they don't consider the story the artist was telling.

"Story is everything to many of the works of art in the Vatican Museums," the Rev. Mark Haydu said. His job – international director of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums -- is raising funds to restore and maintain the Vatican vast art collections.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Pope Francis just might upstage an upcoming Saint Louis University symposium on the 2014 canonizations of two popes, John XXIII and John Paul II.

The session’s title is “On Earth As It Is In Heaven --The Canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II.” Its tagline, “The Church in the World Today,” opens the way to talk about Francis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Just when you thought giving candy to the devil at your front door would shoo him away for another year, he’s back. He’s center stage this weekend in Winter Opera’s new production of Charles Gounod’s masterpiece, “Faust.”

He’s no horned, Halloween devil in red or black satin. He's a suave, sophisticated, deep-throated tempter called Mephistopheles.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Only 31 percent of Jewish adults across the United States are affiliated with a synagogue, according to a large-scale study "A Portrait Of Jewish Americans" being released this morning by Pew Research in Washington, D.C.

Pew only counted as synagogue members those who pay dues, but its researchers interviewed a much wider spectrum of adult Americans who call themselves Jewish.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This week’s Rosh Hashana services marked the first day of the Jewish Year 5774. The ancient notes from a great shofar – a hollowed-out ram’s horn -- sounded at dozens of synagogues and Jewish center across the region at the end of services.

Peace in the Middle East is a constant prayer on Rosh Hashana. It may have been so since the days of Abraham. And this year, the issue is more sharply focused as it comes near a major war anniversary and the time for decisions on what to do about chemical warfare in Syria.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Patricia Quarando of St. Charles will skip breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday. She is eager to follow Pope Francis’ call for "people of good will" to observe Saturday as a worldwide day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria.

Quarando, an airline ticket agent, plans to go to her parish church, St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church in Sunset Hills. She’s one of thousands of St. Louis Catholics who will do the same.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The saga of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, just north of downtown, has picked up steam again. This time its pastor, the Rev. Marek Bozek, said the parish is seeking a bishop and a wider denomination or federation to join.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The next time your pastor, rabbi or imam gives a fine sermon praise him or her. When a spiritual leader returns from a few days off, avoid adding guilt by saying he or she was missed when air-conditioning went kaput. Instead, say welcome back and say you hope the well-deserved time off was restful.

A new study says it’s good for their mental health.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Brünnhilde, a majestic Valkyrie, pulls her golden shield tight to her heart, and jabs her long spear at semi-god Siegmund. With his magic sword he slams her spear. Clashing metal, thunder, ecstatic love duets, bloodshed, pandemonium then stillness -- that’s all in a night at the opera at Union Avenue Opera.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “A taste of heaven on earth” was how several Missouri young adults who prayed at the six-day World Youth Day in Rio with Pope Francis and 3 million other young people, according to official government count.

“We were completely crowded so cold and shivering but it felt right. We all belonged together, we all had a place,” said Toni Firoved, 19, of Sacred Heart Parish in Troy, Mo. She talked by phone late Sunday night from her Rio hotel.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louisans had been singing in the rain and wind at World Youth Day in Rio for four days and nights

“The sun came out this morning. For the first time we could see the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain overlooking the city,” said Chris Venverloh, 23, a member of St. George Parish in Gardenville in south St. Louis County. He spoke by phone as he and 20 other Missouri young adults prepared to leave their hotel for Copacabana Beach where they would join more than 1 million young people in praying the Way of the Cross, a Catholic devotion that recalls Gospel accounts of Jesus final hours.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Yesterday, as with most Sundays, Kathy Miller, 25, ushered at 11 a.m. Mass at her parish, Seven Holy Founders Church in Affton.

Next Sunday she’ll participate in a Mass with identical core prayers but everything else will be different. Instead finding a familiar pew, she’ll be kneeling on her sleeping bag outdoors at a Brazilian Air Force base as Pope Francis celebrates Sunday Mass. Instead of praying with neighbors and childhood friends, she’ll be surrounded by young people from more than 100 countries. She expects the pope to focus his homily on how her generation can help the world.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Puccini’s "Madama Butterfly," one of the most beloved and most often performed operas, comes to Union Avenue Opera Friday with singers who have become UAO favorites.

"The ‘Madama Butterfly’ story has so much joy and love in the first act," soprano Ann Hoyt Wazelle, who sings the title role, said. “Butterfly is very young, 15, and so faithful to (U.S. Naval Lt. Benjamin Franklin) Pinkerton. All its music is so beautiful.”

Corinne Winters in "The Kiss"
Poster | Opera Theatre of St. Louis

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A comic opera about a charming woman who won't disrespect mourning customs opens Sunday night at 7 p.m. at the Loretto-Hilton Theater.

It’s Bedřich Smetana and Eliška Krásnohorská’s “The Kiss.” And this opera is OTSL’s second opening night in succession. Saturday is the world premiere of Terrence Blanchard and Michael Christofer’s “Champion.”