Located in Ste. Genevieve County, some 65 miles south of St. Louis Metropolis and 7 miles west of Bloomsdale, is the small rural Church of St. Lawrence of Lawrenceton, MO. As though ignored by time, today there remains one of the most picturesque, tranquil Catholic Church sites imaginable. Surrounded by the densely forested Ozark foothills, the isolation and quietness of this valley, with the Fourche a Duclos stream flowing along the nearby bluffs, could only be God’s design, and reserved for His worship.
The history of St. Lawrence Church cannot be written without mention of the neighboring parishes of St. Agnes (formerly St. Philomena) at Bloomsdale and St. Anne at French Village. Their past was closely intertwined in common work and worship and the sharing of pastoral duties. The land for the St. Lawrence Church was donated by the Henry and Charles Lawrence families, early immigrant settlers, in 1870. Hence, the naming of the village (previously called Punjaub) and the patronage to St. Lawrence.
The first Church was dedicated in 1872 by vicar General Monsignor Muelsiepen. Considering the remoteness of the village, it is difficult to visualize it as a once flourishing settlement including a one room school house, a flour mill, a general store, a blacksmith shop, a coopershop and even a dance hall. Only the Church and a few period structures survive the erosion of time.
Disaster struck on May 30, 1917, when the Church was completely destroyed in the path of a violent tornado. It was then that the heritage (mainly French and German) and deep faith of the parishioners prevailed. The Church was rebuilt as it stands today.
In July 1918 it was dedicated by Archbishop John J. Glennon. St. Lawrence Parish remains devoted to the service of God. Under the watchful eye of an elected parish council, the parish has 50 registered families, a beautiful cemetery, a dedicated choir and a host of lectors, ushers and young acolytes. The Parish Family is extremely proud of the annual summer picnic and country dinner, which draws new and old friends from near and far. Visitors are always welcome at our Sunday 8:30 AM Mass.