Sunday, July 23, 2006

Photos of the Shrine of Saint Joseph, in Saint Louis, Missouri

On Friday, July 14th, the Latin Liturgy Association visited a number of area churches, including the magnificent Shrine of Saint Joseph, in the near-northside of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Click here for newer photos of the shrine.

Click on any photo for a larger version.

This is the Shrine of Saint Joseph, originally a German parish staffed by the Society of Jesus, and slated to be destroyed in the late 1970s. By the time of its closure, it was in the middle of a dangerous industrial neighborhood with few parishioners. Now, with the church restored by the efforts of the laity, a neighborhood has sprung up around it.

This is the site of the only authenticated miracle in the midwest.

The parish was started in 1844, with major expansions of the church being completed in 1866 and 1881

Members of the Latin Liturgy Association enter the shrine.

A view of the sanctuary, while a docent gives a talk on the history of the church. The church is decorated for a wedding.

In the sanctuary is the Altar of Answered Prayers, installed in 1867, and built in thanks by parishioners spared from a cholera epidemic. At the very top is the Sacred Heart. The main statue is of Saint Joseph with the Christ Child, flanked by Saints Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier

Saint Joseph with the Christ Child.

Detail of altar.

Side of the sanctuary.

A closer view of the half-dome above the high altar.

A stained glass window, showing the Christian symbol of the anchor, and the Keys of Saint Peter.

Mary's altar. The Blessed Virgin Mary, holding the Child Jesus, is flanked by Saints Cecilia and Agnes, two virgin Roman martyrs. The top reads Ave Maria gratia plena: Hail Mary full of grace (adapted from Luke 1:28)

Effigy of Saint Justus of Beauvais, a nine-year old boy martyred during the persecution of Diocletian. This has the appearance of an altar-tomb, as were used in the catacombs in Rome.

View of the ceiling in a side-aisle.

Detail of the ornament in the vaulting.

The Jesuit's Altar, featuring three young Jesuit priests. According to the Shrine's website, the purpose of this altar was to inspire young men to the priesthood. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga is flanked by Saints John Berchmans and Stanislaus Kostka.

At the top of the altar is written the Latin text: Quam pulchra est casta generatio ("how beautiful is the chaste generation"), from the Book of Wisdom 4:1 (not found in Protestant Bibles)

Below is an effigy of Christ in the Sepulcher.

Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

This pulpit comes from the old Jesuit seminary in Florissant, Missouri.

The richly-decorated ceiling of the nave.

The two towers of the church were originally topped by tall cupolas, which were destroyed by a tornado. The Shrine has plans to replace them, making this one of the tallest churches in the area.

Mass times:

Sunday: 11:00 a.m.
First Friday: 12 Noon


1220 North 11th Street
St. Louis, MO 63106


  1. Is that effigy of St. Justus meant to contain a relic? Not the sort of thing you see very often.

  2. I would assume it contains a relic of that Saint, since it is under a pre-Vatican II altar. It may even be a pre-Vatican I altar!

    I am completely ignorant as to whether or not Church Law requires relics of a Saint (or more specifically a Martyr Saint) to be in every altar: I've heard both yes and no.

    Back as a child, and in my pre-Catholic days, I visited a church which had an effigy (and I suppose relics) of Saint Valentine—the Saint of greeting card fame. I was completely terrified!

  3. An unusually beautiful gem, Marcus. Thanks for posting this.