Friday, December 15, 2006

Photos of Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOGRAPHS of Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri, which is 17 highway miles northwest of downtown Saint Louis. This is perhaps the oldest church in the Louisiana Purchase territory, dating from 1819. This was the home of the missionary Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne (29 August 1769 - 18 November 1852), co-foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart in the U.S., who was known to the Pottowatomi Indians as the "Woman-Who-Prays-Always".

Mother Duchesne was declared venerable in 1900, beatified in 1940, and canonized in 1988.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

On Saturday, December 9th, 2006, the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem hosted a conference at the shrine, followed by Vespers and Compline.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

This altar dates from 1870.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Crucifixion painting and the sanctuary light next to the altar. These photos are fuzzy and grainy because I didn't use a tripod to stabilize the camera.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Sacred Heart of Jesus above the altar.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Statues of an angel and Saint Ferdinand III, King of Leon and Castile (1198 - 1252), whose life goals were the propagation of the Faith and the liberation of Spain from the Saracens.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Under the altar is a wax effigy, containing relics of Saint Valentine, Roman martyr, from A.D. 270. As a young child visiting this church, I was horrified by this dead body under the altar, and to make it worse, it was the Saint of Valentine's Day greeting card fame!

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

The Second Gospel, John 1, on the altar.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

The tabernacle. This church remains consecrated, and Mass is occasionally celebrated, but the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved here.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Baptismal font.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

An indulgenced Mission Crucifix, provided by the Jesuits. I think it was this crucifix that made me realize, as a young child, that Christ was executed by the Romans: earlier I thought that the Romans were schoolyard bullies, and had just tied him to the cross. Yeah, I was dumb kid.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Station of the cross.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

A painting in the church. I'm not sure who is this Saint. [UPDATE - a reader commented: "The saint that you didn't know was St. Cecelia. She was martyred in Rome and was found in that position when she died. One finger extended in one hand for one God and the three fingers extended in the other hand symbolizing the Trinity."]


Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

1792 SESQUI-CENTENNIAL 1942.

An American serviceman holding the flag, next to a plane with the words "IN GOD WE TRUST", shakes hands with a priest with the Vatican flag. while Saint Ferdinand looks on.


Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

A model of how the church looked when first constructed. The logs are now covered by brick and plaster.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Detail of the ceiling, curved, and made out of strips of wood like a barrel .

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

The pipe organ in the loft.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

A view of the nave. Note the ornate crystal chandeliers.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Where a transept may be in an ordinary church, are here instead doors into the side-buildings. This is a doorway into the rectory; now a museum and gift shop; on the other side is a door to the convent. Above the doors are archways to the second story of the buildings, allowing a view into the sanctuary.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

The museum has a collection of dolls in historical nuns' habits. The loss of the habit after the Second Vatican Council seems to have led to a loss of identity in some religious orders.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, MissouriOld Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Statues in the museum.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Holy medals.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Mother Duchesne used this confessional for years.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, MissouriOld Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, MissouriOld Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

These are old tabernacles used in this church, dating from 1789, 1821, and 1832. E.V.S.O.D. stands for Ego Vobiscum Sum Omnibus Diebus "I am with you all days" (Matthew 28:20).

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

The adjoining Convent
was built for
Mother Rose Philippine
Duchesne
of
The Society of the Sacred Heart
in 1819-1820
by Father De La Croix
+
Mother Duchesne
lived here for many years
teaching the children of the early
settlers and instructing the
Indian children.
Laboring amidst great privations
to establish Christianity in
a New Land.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Blessed
Rose Philippine
Duchesne
Co-foundress of the
Society of the
Sacred Heart
in the United States
arrived in the village of
St. Ferdinand de Fleurissant
December 21, 1819


Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Mother Duchesne slept here, in a closet, under the stairs.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

The faithful leave prayer intentions in the Saint's tiny bedroom.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Old processional cross and incensorium.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

The convent's kitchen.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Dormitory on the second floor of the convent.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

My guide said that the convent's garret is scary, even in the daytime.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Parlor of the convent.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

Devotional cabinet of Blessed (now Saint) Philippine Duchesne.

Old Saint Ferdinand's Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri

The front door of the church, with Christmas lights.

Click here for older exterior photos of the shrine.

Newer photos of the shrine can be found here and here

Address:
1 Rue St. François
Florissant, MO 63031

8 comments:

  1. Michael Cross seminarianFriday, December 15, 2006 8:14:00 PM

    The saint that you didn't know was St. Cecelia. She was martyred in Rome and was found in that position when she died. One finger extended in one hand for one God and the three fingers extended in the other hand symbolizing the Trinity.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there!
    Don't you think this building is full of superstition and idolatry? Also, doesn't the New Testament refer to all Christians as 'saints', not just certain dead ones?!

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  3. Thanks for sharing the photos. My family attended here and have been a part of the Florissant community since the 18th century. I visited the Shrine after dark three weeks ago on a hasty trip. I hope to attend a mass there on a special occasion. Thanks again, J.L.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For us, young Latin American nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart, (the same congregation of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne) is very uplifting to know, at least through photographs the places where she lived. She was a great missionary. Has been particularly poignant (commotion)the photo of Mother Duchesne's room (was not a room, almost a closet, as you wrote) under the stairs. Please God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, "Mater Admirabilis" we achieve something of the spirit that encouraged the spread of this Holy Gospel. Excuse our poor and bad English.
    Three young religious of the Sacred Heart.

    ReplyDelete
  5. One of my duties was to decorate the church for the Christmas season and the concert. I was proud of my decorating abilities if i may say so. I would put up scaffolding around the Altar and the arches of the balconies.One year I used 15,000 lights on the inside and it was magnificent. This would take around two weeks to complete and involved alot of danger but it was worth it.

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  6. One more item of interest. As you look in the little room under the steps notice little pieces of paper stuck between the boards. Around 2002 I was watching a story about Jerusalem on PBS and it showed pilgrims to the 'wailing wall' leaving little prayer requests in the mortar joints of the stones. So I got an idea. I took some pieces of paper, wrote some prayers and put them between the boards in this room. As you can see from the photos the idea really took off

    ReplyDelete