St. Ferdinand Catholic School and Parish is located in Florissant, Missouri within the Archdiocese of St. Louis. St. Ferdinand has a rich tradition and missionary heritage. In the mid 1700's the French entered the Mississippi Valley as settlers, farmers, and merchants. They named the area "Valley of Flowers" or "Florissant" due to the beauty of the valley. A French Catholic village was established and named St. Ferdinand de Florissant after St. Ferdinand III, who was King of Castile, Spain from 1217 to 1252.
The first church was built in 1789. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne founded the first Society of the Sacred Heart motherhouse in the United States on the parish grounds. She also established the first Indian school for girls in the U.S. and a free school for boys and girls at St. Ferdinand's. Also, Father Peter DeSmet, known as the Apostle of the Indians, was ordained at St. Ferdinand's in 1827.
The Sisters of Loretto came to the parish to staff the school in 1847. Priests of the Society of Jesus oversaw St. Ferdinand parish until 1958 when archdiocesan priests were assigned. In 1957 a new St. Ferdinand Church was built on Charbonier Road. Florissant residents prevented the demolition of the old church and it is now preserved as the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine.
The combination church and school building at the new site was used until December, 1960, when a new church was built. From 1958 to 1961 the parish tripled in population. Several additions to the school were built in the late 1950's and 1960's. Currently, there are roughly 250 students are enrolled in the school staffed by 15 teachers and supporting staff. St. Ferdinand students are continuing their rich tradition and missionary spirit through their studies, worship, and service to the community. This year the school is focusing on the life and ministry of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, who served in this parish in the early 1800's. It is a special gift to have an actual Saint a part of the fabric of the Parish's History.