Thursday, September 08, 2005

Photos of Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine in Florissant, Missouri





Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, built in 1819-1821, is believed to be the oldest Catholic church between the Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains. The facade and belltower date from 1881; the interior was renovated in 1966 after a fire. It is no longer a parish church, but remains consecrated, however, the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved here. This is a log building, with a brick exterior. This is the first place where Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne had a school in the Saint Louis area, before she moved to Saint Charles, Missouri. The Jesuit missionary Peter De Smet was ordained here. Under the altar is a wax effigy containing the relics of Saint Valentine.

Florissant is one of the oldest communitites in Missouri, in north Saint Louis County, and is located about 17 and a half highway miles northwest of downtown Saint Louis City. The streets in Old Town Florissant have Saints' names. Many historic buildings, including one dating from 1790, still exist in this neighborhood.


The old school, built in 1888, is now a museum



The rectory, built in 1840



The facade of the church. The marker to the right of the entrance reads:

THIS CHURCH WAS BUILT IN 1821,
AT THE THEN FRONTIER OF OUR BELOVED LAND
AND
DEDICATED TO THE
SACRED HEART OF JESUS
WITH
ST. FERDINAND AND ST. JOHN REGIS
AS SECONDARY PATRONS

THE ST. LOUIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
FOURTH DEGREE
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
AFFECTIONATLY PLACED THIS MARKER
ON JUNE 14TH 1925.



The convent, built in 1819, is where Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne lived from 1819 to 1827 and from 1834 to 1840.


Statue of Saint Ferdinand, in front of the convent



Statue of Mother Duchesne



Behind the church



Back of the convent, showing what appears to be an old well



The garden behind the rectory



Coldwater Creek, near the church



The area adjacent to the Shrine is Spanish Land Grant Park, and contains the remains of the early settlers of Florissant. The graves are unmarked. A monument reads:


FLORISSANT

FRENCH TRAPPERS DISCOVERED THE FERTILE VALLEY FORMED BY
THE RIVIERE DE BICHE AND CALLED IT FLEURISSANT. THEY STAYED TO
TILL THE RICH SOIL AND BUILD A VILLAGE HERE ON THE EAST BANK
OF THE STREAM THE AMERICANS WOULD LATER CALL COLDWATER
CREEK THE COMMON FIELDS STRETCHED FROM THE WEST BANK TO
THE MISSOURI RIVER WHILE THE COMMONS SURROUNDED THE
VILLAGE ON THE REMAINING THREE SIDES. WHEN THE LAND WAS
TRANSFERRED TO SPAIN, THE VILLAGE WAS KNOWN AS SAN
FERNANDO AND IN 1786 FRANCOIS DUNEGANT WAS NAMED THE
MILITARY AND CIVIL COMMANDANT OF THE VILLAGE.

ERECTED BY
THE BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL WOMEN'S CLUB
OF FLORISSANT
IN CELEBRATION OF 200 YEARS OF GOVERNMENT
ON OCTOBER 19, 1986


Address:
1 Rue St. Francois
Florissant, MO 63032


Phone: 314-837-2110

The shrine is open on Sundays 1-4 PM, April thru December.


Newer photos of the shrine can be found here, here, and here.

1 comment:

  1. This was my home for twenty years 1988-2009. I was honored to be able to live here. I was not a hobby for me it was my lifes work and I was proud to be associated with the life of Philippine Duchesne the Sisters of Loretto and the Jesuits who served this parish.

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