Old St. Ferdinand Shrine – Florissant, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

Florissant, Missouri

Old St. Ferdinand Shrine

A wax effigy of St. Valentine hides one of the saint's relics. 

Being the oldest Catholic church west of the Mississippi, the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine has more than just a long history of prayer. The church holds within its walls a significant piece of historical importance.

The story of Valentines Day is a romantic yet convoluted one that involves the patron of lovers known as St. Valentine who helped early Christian couples to marry in secret. Though it is difficult to say who exactly St. Valentines actually is, his history has been preserved not only through the national holiday of Valentines Day, but also in the few relics that are scattered all around the world to commemorate him. One of these rare relics can actually be found right inside of the Old St. Ferdinand Church.

The Old St. Ferdinand Shrine on its own is an incredible sight to see with its beautiful models of old buildings and outstanding design. Among the many replications that represent fundamental aspects of the Catholic church is the wax replica of St. Valentine in front of the altar. Inside of this life-like replica is one of the relics of St. Valentine that was given to Bishop Louis DuBourg as a gift from the King of France.

The buildings of the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of their collection of irreplaceable historical artifacts.

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