St. Francis Borgia Roman Catholic Church, Washington, Franklin County

Heading east from New Haven, we’re going to be looking at Washington, Missouri in Franklin County. I’m actually kind of surprised, only two months from the sixteenth anniversary of St. Louis Patina, that I’ve never covered this important city on the Missouri River.

We’ll start our tour by looking at St. Francis Borgia Roman Catholic Church, whose spire dominates the downtown area of Washington. Its roots go back to 1833, though obviously the current church dates from 1869. Like many churches in the St. Louis region, its massing is Gothic Revival, but its ornamental style, including its windows, are in the Romanesque Revival style.

The front of the church faces north and towards the Missouri River and downtown. The clock also tells accurate time! The front door is reached by a long staircase from Main Street.

While much of the church is surrounded by other buildings in the campus, facing out to the north are parking lots.

Inside, we are greeted with a beautiful and apparently recently restored interior with a barrel vaulted ceiling with a single nave and no transepts.

There is a giant depiction of God the Father is the half dome of the apse, which is interesting as this is usually the location of a painting or mosaic of Christ Pantocrater, as you can see in many early Christian basilicas.

The Twelve Disciples are shown in the roundels on the vault of the nave. The names were added in the recent restoration. As is common in churches around St. Louis, they are actually painted on canvas and affixed to the ceiling, and are not frescoes.

There are also some beautiful stained glass windows, as well. I didn’t photograph all of them, but there are two sides, with one side dealing with scenes from the life of Christ, and the other of the Virgin Mary.

Above is the Nativity, and below is Christ in the Temple.

Below is an interesting depiction of the Assumption of the Virgin; while all the Disciples were present, the artist has chosen to focus on a more reserved composition and just shown two apostles.

There are multiple school buildings that surround the church, and St. Francis Borgia is still an active educational center for Washington. First the Jesuits, and then Franciscans staffed the church, but now Archdiocesan priests preside.

I forget which buildings this is below. I think it might have been a convent or something.

This amazing Art-Deco building is the former high school, which has now moved to a larger campus elsewhere in town.

Constructed in 1935, it became a grade school in 1982 when the high school moved.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Mamanella says:

    Hi Chris – great post! Just clarifying – when you wrote 1883 near the top of the post, I think you meant 1833….

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Yes, thanks for catching that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.