Monday, January 21, 2008

Photos of Saint Anne Mission, in French Village, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Anne Mission, in French Village, a rural unincorporated settlement in eastern Saint François County, Missouri. The church is about 57 highway miles south of downtown Saint Louis.

Saint Anne Roman Catholic Church, in French Village, Missouri, USA - exterior

According to a plaque on the front of the church:
Petit Canada (French Village) was visited by explorers and missionaries in the early 1700's. Later mid-century miners leaving the King's Highway at Bloomsdale established a permanent camp here on their way to Old Mines. The first settlers were French Canadians involved in fur trapping and mining. By 1797 there were 20 furnaces around French Village smelting ore. Although Mass had been offered by passing missionaries earlier, in 1828, Saint Anne's was established as the first permanent parish in St. Francois County. The priest rode from Ste. Genevieve to say Mass in a log church for 18 families. Twenty years later Father John Anselm became the first resident pastor. At this time St. Anne was one of only 48 parishes in the entire state and served 525 members. The present church was built in 1871-1874 and rebuilt after a fire in 1919. At various times, St. Anne ministered to Catholics at Bloomsdale, Zell, Lawrenceton, Farmington, and Bonne Terre. As mining moved into the richer producing "Lead Belt" during the last half of the 1800's, French Village became primarily a farming area. The role of St. Anne Parish reversed and it became a mission of Bonne Terre, then Bloomsdale and Lawrenceton. From 1964 to the present it is again a mission of Bonne Terre. Today this beautiful country, as always, is an attraction to visitors and challenge to numerous new settlers.
Petit Canada changed its name to French Village when it established a post office.

The cemetery has a predominance of French and Irish names — these two nationalities having a long history of good relations — as well as a scattering of eastern European surnames. The name 'Aubuchon' seems to predominate here, with the oldest monuments spelling the name 'Au Buchon'. This cemetery has a number of ornate wrought iron crosses as monuments. Here is the grave of George Washington Brooks (1854-1937), a freed slave who served the same family for six generations; during the Civil War, he rode from French Village through guerrilla territory with $1000 in gold hidden in his boots for safekeeping.

Saint François County was originally a colonial district, and is named after Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). Locals pronounce the name 'Francis'.

Saint Anne Roman Catholic Church, in French Village, Missouri, USA - interior

Saint Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has a strong devotion among the French; and perhaps not too surprisingly, her husband, Saint Joachim, has a church nearby.

Although the church was locked, I was able to take these photos through a window in the front door. Above the altar is the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The floor is decorated with fleurs-de-lis and the Greek letters alpha and omega.

Saint Anne Roman Catholic Church, in French Village, Missouri, USA - tabernacle

The tabernacle, with sanctuary lamp glowing.

Sunday Mass at 8:30 a.m., and 6:30 p.m. on holy days of obligation. Confession Sundays at 8:00 a.m.

Click here for a location map.

1 comment:

  1. How serene and lovely this view.

    You know, every Church you photograph is like opening a Faberge egg. Every Church is a unique work of art with the treasure inside, the delightful surprise of the furnishings of the Church.