St. Stanislaus Seminary

St. Stanislaus Seminary is a former Society of Jesus (Jesuits) seminary that was founded in 1823 on the outskirts of Florissant, Missouri within the current municipal limits of Hazelwood, Missouri. It was the longest continuously operated Jesuit novitiate in the United States.[2]

St. Stanislaus Seminary
St. Stanislaus Seminary.tif
St. Stanislaus Seminary in 1936
St. Stanislaus Seminary is located in Missouri
St. Stanislaus Seminary
St. Stanislaus Seminary is located in the United States
St. Stanislaus Seminary
Location700 Howdershell Rd., Hazelwood, Missouri
Coordinates38°48′6″N 90°21′58″W / 38.80167°N 90.36611°W / 38.80167; -90.36611Coordinates: 38°48′6″N 90°21′58″W / 38.80167°N 90.36611°W / 38.80167; -90.36611
Area9.9 acres (4.0 ha)
Architectural styleGreek Revival
NRHP reference No.72001491[1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 22, 1972


Working lifeEdit

The seminary was founded in 1823 as some log buildings and a large farm worked by enslaved people to support the missionaries. They had come to Florissant from Maryland at the behest of Louis William Valentine DuBourg. It was named for Stanislaus Kostka. The main building, now known as the Old Rock Building, was built from 1840 to 1849 from limestone quarried by the Jesuits and people they enslaved.[3][4][5][6] Pierre-Jean De Smet was based in St. Stanislaus Seminary for some years.[2] Some known early students are: Peter Joseph Arnoudt.[7] and Adrian Hoecken.

The seminary was closed in 1971 due to fewer religious vocations and the post-Vatican II movement to urban areas. Two years earlier, it had already transferred its collegiate program to Saint Louis University. Most of what was left of the property, 35 acres (140,000 m2), was sold to The Missouri District of The United Pentecostal Church International, and then the property housed Urshan College (formerly Gateway College of Evangelism) and Urshan Graduate School of Theology. Now the building is used for Gateway Legacy Christian Academy. The Old Rock Building and 4 acres (16,000 m2) of land remained Jesuit property until 2003.[8]


In 1973, the seminary became the Museum of the Western Jesuit Missions, but closed again in 2001, the museum moving to Saint Louis University to become part of the Museum of Art there.[5]

The propertyEdit

The property was largely self-sufficient in its day. The still-standing Rock Building was built by Jesuits and people they enslaved. They quarried limestone from the banks of the Missouri River, and it has walls 3 feet (0.91 m) thick. The wooden parts came from walnut, logged from the property by the Jesuits, and the bricks were also made on site. The seminary fed itself with an orchard, a chicken ranch, a cattle barn, wheat fields, vineyards, a butcher shop, a creamery, and a bakery. The former farm property is now owned by Saint Louis County, which leases it to the Missouri Department of Conservation as a conservation area.[9]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Pilgrimage Through the Catholic Midwest" (PDF). Regina Coeli. Society of Saint Pius X. February 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  3. ^ Schmidt, Kelly L. (December 15, 2020). "A National Legacy of Enslavement: An Overview of the Work of the Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project". Journal of Jesuit Studies. 8: 81–107. doi:10.1163/22141332-0801P005. S2CID 230573868.
  4. ^ "Louis William DuBourg (1766–1833) | Missouri Encyclopedia". Missouri Encyclopedia. 1999.
  5. ^ a b "The Museum of the Western Jesuit Missions". Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  6. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form" (PDF). Missouri Department of National Resources. March 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Peter Joseph Arnoudt - Wikisource, the free online library". Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  8. ^ "St. Stanislaus Seminary" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  9. ^ "Area Summary". Archived from the original on 2009-12-14.