Perhaps as enjoyable as viewing the interior of the church was the chance to step into the private, intimate spaces behind the scenes of the church.
For example, the angles created by the exterior of the apse as it butted up against the bridge to the rectory, or the steps that descend down into the basement.
The building’s stout walls will last for centuries, but the near future of the church will determine in what condition it will remain in the coming decades.
Below, the stained glass windows still line the hall of the bridge between the church and rectory, one of the most unique elements of this complex.
The rectory itself is a large building, with fascinating courses of glazed brick interspersed with the typical red brick.
The fuse box, no longer hooked up to electricity, is most likely part of the earliest wiring of the church.
A yellowed sign explains the operation of the system, though it is of no use now.
The parish hall, in the cellar, has been cut up into smaller rooms, but some of the original paint remains.
The grotto out back, facing away from the street, has miraculously avoided serious vandalism. This is the second historic church I have visited in North St. Louis in the last couple of months, and every time, I get a sad sense that I am witnessing the passing of an era. In fact, I get much of the same feeling viewing these churches as when I’m visiting ancient Roman ruins in Italy, even though those are obviously much older. What caused the Roman Catholic church to give up on this church? Was it a lack of will, or just a sad, realistic realization that there was no reason to keep the church open? Was it no different than when the Romans abandoned the Coliseum? Was there just simply no money or manpower left to keep it open any longer? Perhaps the most sad realization for me is that if even the beautiful St. Liborius can be abandoned and forgotten, then anywhere can, including the places I cherish.