On January 12-16, the city of St. Louis received its own when Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza visited the city named after his ancestor. The Prince was in the city to deliver the keynote speech at the Seventh Annual Marian Conference at the Adam’s Mark Hotel near the Gateway Arch. He also addressed nearly 80 TFP supporters and friends at a special Sunday luncheon at the same venue.
These were just two of the many visits and events that marked Prince Bertrand’s TFP-sponsored trip. Although he received an official key to the city, it was hardly needed since St. Louisans welcomed him with open arms and hearts.
This was particularly apparent at the Marian Conference. Over 1,600 Catholics filled the main ballroom where they warmly received Prince Bertrand who delivered his keynote address, “Our Lady of Fatima and the Reign of Mary.” The Prince described the crisis inside society and the Church as the “dark night of history.” However, he also outlined the reasons for hope in light of the Fatima Message.
At the Conference, Archbishop Raymond Burke officially welcomed the Prince to the city and the Marian event. The well-organized conference also featured notable Catholic speakers like Monsignor Michael Schmitz, Father Pablo Straub and Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J., and well-known local Catholic priests such as Father Andre Mhanna and Father Eugene Morris.
Prince Bertrand is a direct descendent in the male line of King Saint Louis IX. Wherever he went in the city, he encountered the memory of his saintly ancestor. One of the highlights of his visit was an official guided tour of the St. Louis Art Museum with a stately equestrian statue of St. Louis the Crusader just outside. The prince also admired the statues and mosaics at the city’s magnificent Cathedral-Basilica where the holy king’s life is admirably portrayed.
An escorted visit to the Air National Guard base near Lambert Airport proved an opportunity for the Prince, who is a pilot, to show his interest in air defense and avionics.
However, what the Prince considered the most important part of his visit to St. Louis was not the many beautiful sites in the city but the opportunity to promote Christian civilization.
The Prince is the brother and heir to Prince Louis, the present Head of the Imperial House of Brazil. In his own country, he actively pursues his many activities in defense of Christian tradition, the family and every man’s right to private property and free enterprise. Faithful to the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church, he is outspoken in defense of the innocent unborn and is active in the pro-family and pro-life movement around the world.
The Prince spoke about some of these positions and his Marian devotion in an interview by Zip Rzeppa on Covenant Network, a local Catholic group of radio stations that broadcast in the region.
Prince Bertrand was also warmly welcomed at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory by Msgr. Michael Schmitz where he attended Holy Mass on Sunday in a place of honor in the sanctuary, a privilege traditionally granted to royalty.
Local TFP supporters, who organized and prepared an excellent program for the Prince throughout his short stay, outdid themselves by putting together a splendid Sunday luncheon at the Adam’s Mark Hotel’s Rose Garden Room. Nearly 80 TFP supporters and friends, some coming from as far away as Wichita, gathered to honor Prince Bertrand.
In his welcoming remarks, Msgr. Schmitz reminded participants that history does not stand still and that the Prince’s visit was “historic” for St. Louis Catholics. On his part, the Prince delivered his talk on “The Role of the Lay Catholic in Today’s World.” He described the Revolutionary process masterfully explained in Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s book, Revolution and Counter-revolution. He called upon all present never to lose an opportunity to further the Catholic cause. The TFP supporters presented the Prince with a copy of a picture of St. Louis IX found in the city’s Old Cathedral as a memento of his trip.
After the luncheon, all had the opportunity to speak with the Prince. Conversations, pictures-taking and autographs lingered long into the afternoon. Throughout his trip, the Prince himself never lost an opportunity to further the Catholic cause and promote devotion to the Blessed Mother. The warm reception he received made him feel quite at home in St. Louis but above all he felt pleased to have the chance to encourage American Catholics in their daily struggles in today’s Cultural War.