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Old St. Ferdinand church was established in 1789. The present church is believed to be the oldest standing church of any denomination in all the 1804 Louisiana Purchase Territory. On a parcel of land between two spring-fed creeks, a convent school was built in 1819 to house the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A few years later, in 1821, a church was built next to the convent as a replacement for the original 1789 log church. A rectory was added in 1840 to complete the main structure. The schoolhouse beside the rectory was the final building added to this historic site in 1888.
The 1819 convent is one of the few brick buildings of this age, and in near original condition, to be found in Missouri. It is considered one of the best examples of a brick building in the Federal Style architecture in the state. All of the buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and today house a museum full of historic artifacts. The convent at St. Ferdinand was home to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (1769-1852) for 13 years. Pope John Paul II canonized her into sainthood on July 3, 1988, and Old St. Ferdinand was designated a Shrine.
Today visitors worldwide can visit the Church, Convent, Rectory, Museum, Gift Shop and Schoolhouse to learn more about the life of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and the early years of Florissant. The buildings are open every Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon and on Sunday, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m., from April 1 through Nov. 1. Tours are available at those times or by appointment most days of the year. Luncheon tours are also available. Call or email for information.
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