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

Old St. Ferdinand Shrine

Florissant, Missouri

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

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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 be found right inside the Old St. Ferdinand Church.

The Old St. Ferdinand Shrine on its own is an incredible sight to see, with outstanding design and beautiful models of old buildings.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. In front of the altar is a wax replica of St. Valentine in front of the altar—and inside this life-like effigy is, allegedly, one of the relics of St. Valentine, given to Bishop Louis DuBourg by the King of France.

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