Having gone to college on the East Coast, I had my doubts about religious freedom in St. Louis. But very quickly, I realized that my classmates were all accepting, open-minded, and welcoming to anyone — faithful or faithless. Because of this, I had no problem finding friends or forming professional relationships, and I have not once found that my atheism impedes my happiness in this medical school.
— Vivian C., M1
Being a Baha’i at WUSM has been great. The Baha’i community here (both in the St. Louis region in general and at Wash U specifically) is very warm and quickly welcomed me in as if I’d known them for years. There are weekly interfaith prayer gatherings and monthly musical devotionals. There are also plenty of opportunities for service through teaching children’s classes, leading junior youth groups, and tutoring study circles.
Baha’i Information Center
30 W. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119
— Jyoti D., M1
If you are looking out at the St. Louis Central West End skyline, you can’t miss a large green dome. That dome belongs to the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, a church designated a basilica by the late Pope John Paul II. It is also home to the largest collection of religious mosaics in the world. Only a 15-minute walk from campus (or a five-minute ride on the #10 bus), you will join many residents, fellows, and attending physicians who attend the traditional mass there.
But wait, there’s more! Wash U has an excellent Catholic Student Center (CSC) led here on the med school campus by Troy Woytek. You can join several Wash U and St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) students over at the CSC chapel at the Danforth Campus on Sundays for a joyful, lively Mass that is sure to rejuvenate your spirits for the coming med school week. Troy and the CSC also lead weekly communion service in the Olin Hall chapel every Wednesday. As a Catholic, you have many options for Mass, and you have a great community support you throughout your time here as a student.
Cathedral Basilica of St Louis
4431 Lindell Blvd.
Washington University Catholic Student Center
6352 Forsyth Blvd.
— Steve E., M1
You will be challenged in medical school, there’s no doubt about that. You will have so much to do, more that you want to do, and only so much time in every day. Yet this can be a time for your faith in God to grow and for you to continue maturing as a follower of Christ. Here in St. Louis, there are many churches and it’s not hard to find a ride if you don’t have a car. In the medical school community itself, we have a bible study group, prayer groups, and the Christian Medical Association; you will not be alone here in your faith. As you progress in your medical education and you accumulate knowledge, why not commit to devote yourself to God at this stage of your life? Don’t underestimate the God you follow, because He is at work even in the craziness of med school. If you have any questions or if you want to know specific details about the churches here, feel free to contact me any time!
Chinese Gospel Church
515 Meramec Station Rd., Manchester, MO
8675 Olive Blvd.
2801 S. Kingshighway
Grace Presbyterian Church
11032 Manchester Rd.
50 Gay Avenue
800 Maryville Center Dr., Chesterfield, MO
— Stephanie T., M1
Even in St. Louis, the most Midwestern of cities, keeping in touch with your Hindu faith is more than doable. There are several Hindu temples in the St. Louis area, the largest of which is the Hindu Temple of St. Louis, located in Ballwin (about a 20-minute drive from the medical school). The temple has a huge prayer area on the top floor and a large gathering space on the bottom where several Indian dishes are sold at very reasonable prices. The temple is not easily Metro-accessible, so if you don’t have a car, you may need to borrow a WeCar/Enterprise CarShare or carpool. Still, if you like to go to the temple regularly or just on major holidays, there are places to go. And speaking of major festivals, no discussion of Hinduism would be complete without mentioning Diwali. In addition to a very large Diwali show at the Danforth Campus and an annual Garba held at Saint Louis University, Wash U Med has its very own Diwali show, which includes an M1 class dance and several other performances!
The Hindu Temple of St. Louis
725 Weidman Rd., Ballwin, MO 63011
— Chetan V., M1
While many in the sciences and medicine have no particular religious affiliation, medicine is an inherently moral profession. It requires dedication to the greater good and taking care of people. So, does this sound like you? You don’t identify with any particular religion, nor do you really believe in any kind of god, gods, or universal power. You aren’t necessarily opposed to that idea, but you just don’t see the evidence or need. You think religions often offer insights and truths about humanity, but can’t get behind the mythical or mystical parts. That the human experience is just that: human. You still think morality is an important concept with real meaning, but we just don’t need a supernatural force to have it. We have evolved to have reason, and reason dictates that all humans are equal and have the right to decide what they want to do with their lives. In medicine, it is our responsibility to take care of everyone, equally, to help them maintain health so that they may live the lives they choose as fully as possible. If this sounds like you, then you are a Humanist and you’ll fit in great here! You’ll meet plenty of like-minded people and lots of great people who have varying beliefs that you’ll get along with too!
— Seth H., M1
Being a Muslim always comes with its inherent challenges, and being a Muslim in St. Louis is no different. One difficulty may be that you are one of the few, if not the only Muslim in your class. However, there is a small but active community on the Danforth Campus just two miles away. There is also a full Masjid just a few blocks east on Saint Louis University’s campus with daily services. Praying is easy with a non-denominational chapel in the hospital, or you can just cop an empty room. Gateway Masjid (Masjid Bilal) — 3843 West Pine Blvd.
Islamic Foundation of St. Louis (Daar ul-Islam)
517 Weidman Rd., Manchester, MO
— Amir E., M3; Wajeeh B., M3; and Tarek S., R1
Welcome to St. Louis, the city with the second-largest Jewish population in the Midwest. Sure, it’s no New York or L.A., and you probably won’t find a kosher deli within walking distance. However, this is the field of medicine we’re talking about. There just might be a few Jewish doctors who can serve as mentors at the world-renowned Barnes-Jewish Hospital. If you’re looking for a Jewish community in the area, you’ll definitely find one. Chabad and Hillel are both very active and there are also several groups aimed more at Jewish graduate students as well.
I’ll be frank: Keeping kosher and observing Shabbat won’t be super easy here, but it is possible to buy kosher meat at local grocery stores and there is at least one kosher deli out in the county that also serves a kosher stand at Busch stadium. Hey, even the famous Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a St. Louis specialty, is certified kosher. Being Jewish at Wash U is certainly doable, and you definitely won’t be alone.
6910 Delmar Blvd
Central Reform Congregation
5020 Waterman Blvd.
7018 Forsyth Blvd.
6300 Forsyth Blvd.
— Ethan Tobias, M1
Latter-Day Saints (LDS)
Being Latter-Day Saints (LDS) at Wash U is a lot like being LDS everywhere else. The family ward here on Lindell is very close and full of young couples who are here for graduate and professional school. The singles branch is in Chesterfield and plans a lot of trips in the summer (Nauvoo, Johnson Shut- Ins) along with fun social events throughout the year. Contrary to popular belief, people do get married in the branch. St. Louis has a temple which is about 15 miles west on I-64. In addition, St. Louis is centrally located to a lot of Church history sites.
Chesterfield 2nd Branch (YSA)
15081 Clayton Rd., Chesterfield, MO
3933 McPherson Ave.
— Andrew Perry, M2