Friday, November 19, 2010

Old St. Ferdinand Shrine

Thursday was the Feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, one of the patrons of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  St. Rose Philippine Duchesne actually lived in the Metro St. Louis Area.  The church she worked and lived at is known as Old St. Ferdinand and is now a shrine.  On Thursday, November 18, 2010, the Shrine held a Mass to celebrate.

When I walked into Old St. Ferdinand, I noticed there was not a free-standing altar.  I hadn't gotten to the Shrine all that early, so I was a little perplexed.

The music was accompanied by a guitar and a piano in the sanctuary.  Music:
Gathering Song:  Gather Your People
Presentation Song:  Servant Song
Communion Song:  Song of the Body of Christ; Dona Nobis Pacem
Song of Sending:  City of God

Imagine my shock when Father came out carrying the chalice and wearing a fiddleback vestment!  Father proceeded to offer the Mass ad orientuem (facing the same direction as the people) and at the high altar, with all the things I have seen at the two Latin Masses I have attended.  Two things I noticed very quickly. It was such a huge cognitive dissonance between the music and the way Father was offering the Mass.  The music just didn't fit.  It wasn't that it was hymns/songs versus chant, it was the text of the songs.  The  Song of the Body of Christ, while lovely, is rather trite (and sappy).  Then as soon as Father started the Penitential Rite, my head started itching and I'm naked....oh dear.  The way Father celebrated the Mass was so different, I felt I had to be different as well.  I landed running out to my car for my mantilla.  Needless to say, I have a feeling this is what the Vatican II reforms had in mind.  I liked this mix of old and new the best.

Father, who is a Benedictine Monk from St. Louis Abbey and in charge of the Oratory of St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great, gave an awesome homily.  I've heard 2 of his homilies and they have both been excellent.  Father talked about how the Church begins to focus on the life to come in November as the liturgical year comes to a close.  November is focused on All Souls, but the month begins with the great feast of All Saints.  The Saints are those that have reached the end of human purpose, which if you remember your Catechism (Baltimore) is "To Know Him and to Serve Him"  The saints are like us.  They, as St. Timothy says, have run the race and have kept the faith (Has been informed it is St. Paul who said it, said it to Timothy.  Thanks!) .  The saints love us in perfect charity and are united in Christ.  The Saints are more than good role models.  Father mentioned he had a particular devotion to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, but that he can't imitate her.  He is a priest, not a nun.  He is a man; she a woman.  Rather, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne is praying for him (and us) in a particular way.  The Saints are more than a history lesson.  As Americans, we are not so much into history.  Europe is steeped in Catholicism, especially martyrs.  St. Rose Philippine Duchesne knew the saints and was connected to them.  We in America have so few recognized saints that we do not feel as closely connected to them.  When we come to a Saint's shrine, we feel closer to that Saint and their intercession is stronger.  The Saints pray for us and their love for us never ceases.  When we come as pilgrims, miracles occur.  Miracles are things that change our lives.  St. Rose Philippine Duchesne shows us Christ and His Sacred Heart.

Needless to say, Father used Eucharistic Prayer 1 and there were bells.


Window above doorway

St. Stanislaus K.

Corner of Church
Model of Original Church

VIII:  Jesus Comforts the Holy Women

View From the Back Pew
Mark, of Rome of the West, informs me that it is
 St. Valentine under the altar.

Candle Tree
aka old school lighting


Convent Altar

 Bedroom of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Traditional Habits of Women's Religious Orders

Website of Old St. Ferdinand Shrine
Pictures from Rome of the West


  1. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

    Peace to you and yours x

  2. Nice article. I believe that the only two things to survive a nuclear explosion will be cockroaches and that sap py, crappy OCP/GIA "music".