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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Father Gabriel Richard

St Anne's Church near the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit represents the oldest church in Michigan (and second oldest Catholic parish in the nation!), founded in 1701, 3 days after Cadillac made his landing in the voyager canoe. The most well-known priest of this church was none other than French-born Father Gabriel Richard. It is interesting that he is considered the second founder of our city, behind Cadillac. He not only was a parish priest, but a US Congressman, a builder of roads and schools, publisher of books and newspapers and he even brought the first organ to Michigan. He was jailed during the War of 1812 for siding with the Americans. He died on September 13th of cholera that hit the area. There were more people at his funeral in 1832 than the population of Detroit at that time. His casket in the photo above is sitting in the chapel of St Anne's for all to see.

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