St. Mary's of the Barrens
St. Mary's of the Barrens

Visiting St. Mary’s Barrens

St. Mary's of the Barrens Church is a Roman Catholic Church and former Seminary in Perryville, Missouri. St. Mary's is the historic seat of the American Vincentians and since its establishment in 1818 has served as an educational institution, a Vincentian house of formation, and a Vincentian community residence. 

The founding of St. Mary's of the Barrens, Perryville, Missouri, predates the founding of the State of Missouri by two years, and was the first seminary west of the Mississippi River. 
St. Mary's of the Barrens was founded by the Congregation of the Mission, also known as the Vincentians or Lazarists. The Catholic population of Perryville was in need of a permanent resident priest, and offered 640 acres of land to Bishop Louis William Valentine DuBourg, Diocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas, in exchange for the regular services of a priest and a school for the children. In 1815, Bishop Dubourg was in Rome recruiting priests for the Louisiana Territory, a huge diocese that embraced all of the territory of the Louisiana Purchase. While in Italy, DuBourg stayed at Monte Citorio, the mother church of the Congregation of the Mission order in Rome, and eventually convinced the Vincentians to send a contingent to Missouri to construct a seminary. These two groups of priests and brothers under Felix De Andreis (1877-1820) and Joseph Rosati (1789-1843) left for the United States in the fall of 1815. They stayed in the Baltimore area in 1816, and then moved to Bardstown, Kentucky in 1817 to further their preparations for Missouri. When DuBourg obtained the land grant of 640 acres from the Maryland Catholic immigrants of Perry County, they left to establish St. Mary's of the Barrens seminary in October 1818.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish served the local English-speaking parish and population from 1817 until its merger with the German-speaking St. Boniface Parish to form St. Vincent's Parish in 1965. The parish church was renamed St. Mary's Church in honor of St. Mary of the Barrens Seminary.
Visiting St. Mary's Barrens
          Tuesday - Saturday: 8 am
          Sunday: 11 am
     Shrine Visitor Center & Gift Shop:
          Monday - Friday: 8:30 am - 5 pm
          Saturday - Sunday: 12 pm - 4 pm
     Regular Guided Tour Schedule:
          Monday - Friday: 10 am & 1 pm
          Saturday - Sunday: 1 pm & 3 pm
There is no charge to visit St. Mary's Barrens.