Immaculate Conception!

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The connection between two churches named in honor of her Immaculate Conception and the Vidrine family in LA is very strong.

The church at Kaskaskia, IL is named Immaculate Conception Church. The first stone church was built in 1714 and in 1720 became an established Parish. Five years later, Elisabeth de Moncharvaux’s great grandmother, Marie Rouensa “Aramepinchone” (1677–1725) was buried in the floor of the church, the only woman given that honor in the history of Kaskaskia, IL. In 1741 King Louis XV of France sent a bronze bell with the inscription: POUR LEGLISE DES ILLINOIS PAR LES SOINS DU ROI DOUTRE LEA (For the Church of the Illinois, by gift of the King across the water.) It’s now known as “The Liberty Bell of the West” and can still be seen today. Marie Rouensa’s daughter, Agnes Philippe was baptized and married in Immaculate Conception church, as was Agnes’ daughter, Marie Agnes Chassin (Elisabeth de Moncharvaux’s mother). For several generations, Immaculate Conception Church at Kaskaskia was a vital part of the family of the Matriarch of the Vidrine Family in LA, Eisabeth de Moncharvaux. Unfortunately, the great flood of the Mississippi River in 1881 almost obliterated most of the old village of Kaskaskia, including the Church of the Immaculate Conception, which was totally lost.

Secondly, when Jean Baptiste Lapaise de Védrines and Elisabeth de Moncharvaux finally settled at the Opelousas Post in 1773, their new parish was Immaculate Conception Church at the Opelousas Post (or as it was known, Church Landing). A year later in 1774, a new wooden church was built. Their last child, Eugenie Vidrine, was baptized at Immaculate Conception Church at the Opelousas Post on September 22, 1776. The patriarch of all Vidrines in LA, Jean Baptiste Pierre Lapaise de Védrines died on January 15, 1788 and was buried the next day, January 16, 1788 in the cemetery of Immaculate Conception Church at the Opelousas Post. A year later, in 1798, the Church of the Immaculate Conception was moved to Opelousas and renamed St. Landry Church. (It wasn’t until the 1850’s that a new Parish was established at Washington – formerly, the Opelousas Post – and given the name of Immaculate Conception). Unfortunately, nothing remains of the old wooden Church of the Immaculate Conception at the Opelousas Post and most of the tombs of its old cemetery (now known as the Yellow Fever Cemetery) are lost to history.