Diocese of Springfield - Cape Girardeau at 601 South Jefferson Ave., Springfield, MO 65806-3143 US - About Our DioceseAbout Our Diocese
How we came to be the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
More than a half century after Marquette and Joliet sighted the present state of Missouri, rich lead deposits prompted the first permanent settlement at Ste. Genevieve. Three decades later, Pierre Laclede Liguest founded a trading post, St. Louis (1764). After 1804 when formal transfer of the Upper Louisiana Territory was made at St. Louis to the U.S., the population grew rapidly and the area became Americanized. Present Missouri was part of the Diocese of Louisiana until the See of St. Louis was established (1826). At first its territory was ill-defined, but by 1850 it was restricted to the present state boundaries.
The diocese of St. Joseph was established in 1868, followed by that of Kansas City in 1880. Except for the assignment of 11 northeastern Missouri counties to St. Joseph in 1911, the ecclesiastical division of Missouri remained the same for 76 years.
In 1956, a third See was added and the territory completely realigned, with the Archdiocese of St. Louis now including the city itself and nine surrounding counties. The three suffragen dioceses became Jefferson City, Kansas City-St. Joseph and Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
Although all of the southern section and more than one-third of the state's land mass is within the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, scarcely more than 5 per cent are Catholics.