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The History Of The Catholic Church In St. Augustine

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My religion report is on the Catholic history of St. Augustine. The report will cover the topic of how the Catholic missionaries came over to the Americas, specifically to Florida, their first experiences with the natives, or the first converts, and why religious zeal and drive for converts was so prevalent. I will also discuss the other religions that were present and how Catholicism became the prevailing religion. Lastly, I will discuss the many monuments, churches and well-known sites of the Catholic Church located in St. Augustine. To help further my written report, I have added a visual presentation as well. This visual presentation will include various photos I have taken of monuments, churches, and other important Catholic sites in St. Augustine. Also, there is a timeline that follows the development of Catholicism in St. Augustine.
The history of St. Augustine is a long and intricate past. It is full of take overs, battles, and religious triumph and competition. The first explorer to reach Florida was Christopher Columbus. It is said that Columbus left San Salvador, the first island he landed on, and came to Florida, on a short voyage being the first explorers to find Florida. While Columbus was here, he was impressed by the Aboriaines, or the natives, and by the rich waters that supposedly were to perpetuate youth as well as vitality. (Now seen as a tourist site, The Fountain of Youth.) On March 27, 1512, Palm Sunday, he and the Spanish men named this land 'Floridus' which means full of flowers. They erected a large cross and celebrated mass. The Christianizing and civilizing of the native people began immediately but, was never appreciated by the Indians and therefore was a difficult task. The Indians began fearing the Religion because of the treatment they received in return, which was being enslaved after being Catholicized. In response to these acts of bondage, Catholic missionaries pleaded to the Spanish government to outlaw the enslavery of Natives. The Bishop of Chiapa and Bartholomew De Casa were both important people involved in the struggle for the Indian's rights. They appealed their case well and the Spanish government outlawed the enslavement of the Native Indians.
There was a settlement near St. Augustine called Huguenot under command of Ribalt, a Frenchman. So far the area was unsettled by the Spanish, but it was however, an Indian town which was named Seloy. A man named Laudonnere and his Frenchmen came down the river, known then as May River, and at St. Augustine, built up a settlement. The French were dedicated Protestants, and here at their settlement they established their faith with great religious zeal. The band of French assembled and dedicated their work and themselves to the glory of God and advancement of their Protestant faith. These incredible competitions among the religions were in immediate response to the religious conflicts in Europe. The escalating tense events going on in Europe were the Spanish Inquisition and the break of England from the Catholic Church, which both led to the extraordinary religious zeal and their drive to spread each country's individual faith.
Menendez was the next explorer who played a major role in the development of St. Augustine. He was a devout Catholic. When he arrived in the Americas, there were Protestant Frenchmen there already with a large settlement. His mission then was obvious, to root out the Protestant faith and to expel the French Protestants from the Americas. On September 8, a Spanish priest named Mendoza gave the colony its lasting name, St. Augustine, and performed a commemoration mass for the day Menedez landed off the coast of Florida. The Spanish here in St. Augustine wanted to seriously keep the settlement Catholic and so they only let Catholics into the settlement and they killed and enslaved all the existing Protestant and Lutherans that were there as well as those who came to Florida to colonize. At the time the town was small and planned to be three squares. A parish Church and a hall of justice were also built. Once the basic city was constructed, Menendez then set out to build forts and missionary stations, which was his sole intention since landing in Florida. Priests and friars were left at each of these missionary posts in order to introduce the Catholic religion to all the Indians. Menendez was convinced that if the establishments were to be maintained and if, most importantly, the work with teaching the Natives their faith continued, that he would need many more enforcements. His idea was correct.
DeGourges was a Frenchman who declared to himself and his country to go on a voyage to Florida and to avenge the deaths of his fellow Frenchmen killed by Menendez in his attempt to root out Protestants and Lutherans. DeGourges had a sneaky plan, as he entered the River May, he led on the Spanish to believe that his ship was part of a Spanish fleet. He proceeded to meet with enemy tribes of the Spanish. He communicated the purpose of attack on the Spanish and join forces. It was then, together the Indian warriors and French avengers surprised and attacked the Spaniards. So complete was this surprise attack that there was little resistance whatsoever and was a complete massacre, as gruesome as the Spanish event upon the Protestants and Lutherans just years earlier. The capture of two forts occurred on the eve of the First Sunday after Easter, in 1598, but the Spanish were not completely defeated. Opinions on who of these explorers were in the right is purely bias. One person published their opinion, and here it is,'When speaking of Menendez and Degourges people look on DeGourges with sympathy for the bitter provocation under which he acted, both personal and national. This sympathy is not shared with Menendez, who visited his wrath upon the Religious opinions of men, while DeGourges was an unauthorized avenger of undoubted crime and inhumanity. Both, however acted in violation of the pure spirit of Christianity which they alike professed to revere under the same form.' In any case, the Spanish still managed to have control of St. Augustine, but the city was in horrible shape. The people were starved and enemy Indian attacks were becoming more frequent and reckless with the idea that the Spanish were weakening. Menendez understood his forces were limited but he continued to be determined to spread the Catholic faith. He put tribes of allied Indians with each missionaries and teachers to protect and support. During this time Spain sent large numbers of priests, friars, and brothers. Mission-houses were set up all over the country, from Florida to Mississippi. The determined Spanish Catholics promised at one period for the conversion of the whole native American Indian race to their religion and customs of their Christian faith. Spanish monks already spread into the towns east of Apalachicola River and in 1583, the native American tribes, Chikasaws, Tocoposcas, Apacas, Tomaicas, Apiscas and Alabamas were all Catholic. The faith was recognized as far west as Mississippi and as far north as the mountains of Georgia. Florida, at the time, was in the diocese of Cuba and it was then decided that they would establish a convent. They named it the Order of St. Francis at St. Augustine; this is generally referred to as Helena. This name St. Helena was then applied to all establishments throughout the providence ...

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Keywords: saint augustine, augustine, the story of st.augustine, st. augustine the bishop of hippo, st.augustine life story

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