Monday, December 7, 2015

Walking through St. Francis de Sales Oratory: The Exterior

My travels recently brought me through St. Louis, Missouri. While there I visited the famous St. Francis de Sales Oratory, one of the midwestern strongholds of The Institute of Christ the King. The following are photos taken around and within the oratory. Although I took no photos during Mass, be assured that the Institute's love of lace, dusty blues, and operatic dress was well on display.

The outdoor photos were taken from the south and east (front) sides of the building. Click the photos for a higher resolution.

The famous "leaning tower" from a distance.
The original church (built by German immigrants) was destroyed a year later by a tornado. It was not fully rebuilt until 1908.
Stonework on the south side.
The baptistery is visible even from the exterior.
Telephone lines run past the front of the church.
A rather whimsical depiction of St. Francis in green.
Indeed, that website has useful information about the history of the oratory and its needed repairs.
Another view of Our Lady of Fatima.
And another. The run-down neighborhood can be glimpsed in the background.
Even the planting pots have attractive carvings.
Main doors.
This plaque may have been the only thing that kept the building from demolition during its impoverished years.
A view from the pew.
More interior shots in the next post.

(to be continued)


  1. If memory serves, the mosaic of St Francis de Sales on the facade and his large statue in the nave are actually representations of St Patrick that have been adapted to serve for that of the great bishop of Geneva.

  2. The Oratory of St. Francis de Sales is, without question, the crown jewel of the Institute (which does not lack for some beautiful edifices in its portfolio), and its largest community. Indeed, it might well be the largest traditionalist parish in North America - at least among Ecclesia Dei parishes. I've been to Masses there where attendance has crossed the four figure threshold.

    The photos don't even do justice to the size of the church, which was formerly known as "the Cathedral of South St. Louis" - the auxiliary bishop used to be based there. The steeple is the tallest in the entire St. Louis area, visible for miles around.