Today, the great city of Detroit turns 313 years old. As fate would have it I also recently read about the origins of Detroit’s motto:
“Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus” or “We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes”
The motto, first uttered in 1805, is eerily fitting for the city today.
The full story of the motto’s origin comes from the WSJ:
That motto, Detroit’s, comes from a French Roman Catholic priest, Father Gabriel Richard. He was born in France in 1767 and moved to Baltimore in 1792 to teach math. Reassigned to do missionary work, he moved first to Illinois and later to Detroit, where he was the assistant pastor at St. Anne’s Church.
St Anne’s Church, in the southwest part of the city, stands between Michigan Central Station and the Ambassador Bridge. It was founded in 1701 and could be the oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the U.S.
On June 11, 1805, a fire destroyed nearly the entire city, weeks before the Michigan Territory was established. It was that fire that led Mr. Richard to write: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus.”