St. Francis de Sales


My favorite church in the whole city after St. Augustine on the North Side is St. Francis de Sales, anchoring a corner of Gravois and Ohio for the last century.

It is no longer a parish church, but an oratory, from the Latin word to pray or speak.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the Archdiocese would end regular worship services at one of its principal churches while smaller parish churches remain open. Wouldn’t you want to keep the most prominent parishes going?

Regardless, the church is a fantastic example of Gothic Revival architecture, and more specifically, it reminds me of northern German Gothic that is prominent in cities such as Cologne or Speyer.

The church is known as a hall church, which means that the aisles are deemphasized in favor of producing a long, central nave. It also has a transept, which perhaps shows its French influence as well.

They need a million dollars to fix the tower, apparently.

What is so wonderful about the church is that it defines the neighborhood, creating a visual anchor that can be seen from most of the South Side and creates a focal point for the area.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. miguelito says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Matt M. says:

    I’m just waiting for the Archdiocese to sell off this magnificent church. Condos with a 300′ spire anyone? ;)Thanks for the great pictures!

  3. Rick Bonasch says:

    The Latin mass is held every Sunday. Not sure about daily masses, however, from what little I know about the Catholic church, priests are required to say mass daily, so they may have daily masses.The A-D/SFD has a real problem though. The tower is pulling away form the building, and the fix is over a $ million.

  4. Latin Mass says:

    St. Francis de Sales is a glorious church building and is blessed to have the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to serve its faithful.While it is true that de Sales faces many challenges due to its age, it is also maiking a landmark comeback.The parish was closed by the Archdiocese, and given to the Institute in 2005. Two Masses on Sunday 8am Low Mass, and 10am Solemn High Mass. Daily Mass at 8am, Tuesday at 8am and 6:30pm, Wednesday at 8am and noon. Confessions daily…Lots of young families. Beautiful choir. Check out the web address… click on St. Louis.Great post..Good blog…Thank you

  5. Chris says:

    Thanks for the info; why doesn’t the diocese make this a parish church again?I was a Latin minor in college, BTW.

  6. Latin Mass says:

    This church when it was a “parish” had no members. One Mass on Sunday with less than 100 people. When the parish closed in 2005 the faithful of de Sales “parish” were transfered to St. Pius V parish on Grand. The SFdS Oratory in NOT a parish, therefore it has no boundries and anyone may become a member without effecting their membership of their personal parish.With that said: I believe the Oratorys success has been mainly due to the Institute of Christ the King. Also, the Oratory offers all the sacraments from the 1962 Missal. (the Latin Mass)More and more we are seeing today a very strong wind towards Orthodoxy and traditional forms of worhsip. This I see in the many young people and young families everytime I have gone to St. Francis de Sales Oratory for Mass.This growth we hear about at the Oratory is life changing. The last I heard from my “catholic circle” is this place is on “fire” with many young persons with more than 100 families registered last year alone. Anyone can see at both of the Sunday Masses are more than 3/4 full. And on many occiasions the 10am Solemn High Mass was full.I stongly suggest to any Catholic to visit St. Francis de Sales Oratory. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  7. Chris says:

    I’m very happy to see that DeSales has found new life as an Oratory. I would hate to see it go the way of St. Augustine on the North Side.

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