St Agnes Parish

11_45_48In 1653, when Marquette and Joliet floated down the mighty Mississippi River, not far from view was the flowery dale that in 1874 was poetically named Bloomsdale. The town was built around the place of worship now known as St. Agnes Church.

The first settlers, in about 1790, probably traveled to a neighboring parish to worship. The earliest traveling missionary efforts recorded were under the Vincentian priest from Ste. Genevieve, Fr. Francis Xavier Dahmen, who arrived in Ste. Genevieve on September 29, 1822. He could speak and write French and German – skills that were in great demand because many immigrants from Germany were arriving, adding to the French-dominated population.

Mass in the Bloomsdale area was probably first offered at home gatherings. Later, the small congregation was known as St. Matthews on the Establishment Creek. When a chapel was built at this station in 1835, the congregation was called Lafourche a Duclos on the Establishment. However, the name was changed to St. Philomena on the Establishment. St. Philomena Church records begin in 1850. The cornerstone of the first log church was placed on June 10, 1851 by the pastor, Fr. August Saunter, who was also stationed at French Village. In 1865 the cornerstone was laid for a beautiful rock church to be built around the original log church. It took five years to build the rock church. This church served the needs of the Bloomsdale people until November 26, 1990. On this date one wall of the church collapsed at the beginning of a renovation project. The people of the parish hurriedly met on December 20 and unanimously decided to begin plans for a new church. The cornerstone of the new church was blessed by Bishop Edward J. O’Donnell on July 9, 1992 and the First Mass was Concelebrated by Fathers Oge, Leibinger and Figge on November l4, 1992. In a memorable ceremony Bishop J. Terry Steib dedicated the new church under patronage of St. Agnes on March 14, 1993. The patroness of the parish was changed to Saint Agnes when Saint Philomena was withdrawn from the calendar of saints in 1960.

The parish parochial school began in 1879. The Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, O’Fallon, MO had staffed the school from 1903 until 2008. The present school buildings were built in 1937, 1975 and 2003. We owe a great deal of thanks to the sisters and our dedicated lay faculty for making our school one of the best!