Sisters of the Most Precious Blood and O’Fallon City Hall

I had never seen the Convent of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, and it is an impressive presence on Main Street in the historic area of town.

Portions of the complex were sold to the City of O’Fallon for conversion into the rapidly growing suburb for its new city hall, whose central entrance rotunda has become the symbol of the municipality. It’s actually a pretty ingenious use of the old buildings.

The rest of the complex is very old, and reminds me architecturally of a famous second outpost of the Sisters in Tower Grove East, which of course is the former St. Elizabeth’s Convent and Academy, which is now the International Institute.

They moved out this was in 1875, after being first installed in St. Agatha’s in the city.

The central chapel or church anchors the complex, and like so many Roman Catholic structures in the St. Louis region, its massing and form are Romanesque Revival, but Gothic Revival in style. In other words, it looks like a Romanesque church, but it has pointed Gothic windows and a curved double apse!

The church reminds me of the famous Romanesque churches of Cologne Germany, which were clearly the models for this building. St. Pantaleon, Holy Apostles and other churches in that famous German archbishopric had similar towers and projecting apses and transepts.

There was clearly a Modernist update that occurred sometime in the mid-Twentieth Century; the alpha and omega refer to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and the rho, which looks like our letter P is the second letter of Christ in the Greek spelling. There is no chi, however, which is the first letter in Christ’s name in Greek.

To the north is an identical flanking wing which I presume is still home to sisters of the convent.

Note the similarities of the cupolas along the roofline to the former seminary in Warren County that I’ve looked at before.

This house was probably built as a caretaker’s or priest’s house originally.

One Comment Add yours

  1. sonrie says:

    Yes, there are still older sisters in residence. My aunt was in that convent in the 1960s and still visits from time to time her old friends.

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