Brian Abel Ragen’s passion for history and religion has provided the Cathedral Basilica with a lasting resource.
As a teenager, Brian lost both of his parents within months of one another. Many young people might have been bereft, but this loss led Brian to focus on his studies and love of learning. After college, he became a professor of English. His love of literature and faith led him to become an expert in the intersection between literature and religion. As a professor, Brian has been published in, among other resources, America, The National Catholic Review, and Modern Liturgy.
Originally from San Diego, Brian moved to the St. Louis area to begin teaching at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL. He chose St. Louis as his home, and became a parishioner at the Cathedral Basilica in the Central West End.
Marveling at the magnificent structure and mosaics of the Cathedral, Brian understood the importance of reverently maintaining this landmark. He developed a relationship with the Friends of the Cathedral Basilica, a group dedicated to preserving this work of art. He enthusiastically supports their mission of cleaning, preserving, and restoring the treasure.
The Friends organization has taken on several daunting projects in the past several years. Most recently, they funded the multi-year renovation of the pews throughout the Cathedral. The pew project ensured that new pews would reflect the dignity and elegance of the original pews, while updating them to be more user-friendly.
When Brian learned of the Roman Catholic Foundation and its ability to endow funds to provide an on-going income stream, he immediately sought ways to assist the Friends organization. As a preservationist, he knows the importance of creating a resource that will meet immediate needs and provide long-term financial assistance.
Brian wants others to be able to contribute to the fund and continue the Friends of the Cathedral Basilica’s work for future generations. In August of 2015, he established the Friends of the Cathedral Basilica Endowment Fund. Through his generosity, he helps ensure the century-old structure will be as magnificent in its glory to God in another century as it is today.
Brian references the magnificence and superb condition of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City and says, “It’s old, but not worn. This is our goal for our Cathedral.” With his foresight and generous gift, his hopes and dreams – and those of many who preceded him – will be fulfilled.