What We Do

Restore. Preserve. Improve.



St. Francis de Sales is an historically and architecturally significant structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since the modern restoration of this landmark began in 2005, a great deal has already been been achieved to preserve and beautify it.

A great deal remains to be done. This church building is more than 110 years old, and suffers from age-related deterioration on multiple fronts. Due to both the cultural heritage it embodies and the service it renders to the present community, it requires and deserves our attention and will to preserve and restore it.

DeSales Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was founded with the sole purpose of restoring and preserving the church building. Our priority is to ensure the structural integrity of the building, and the preservation of the aesthetic and cultural elements of this architectural gem.

"When you strip away the rhetoric, preservation is simply having the good sense to hold on to things that are well designed, that link us with our past in a meaningful way, and that have plenty of good use left in them."

— Richard Moe, National Trust for Historic Preservation

St. Francis de Sales was built at a time when beauty found expression through the eyes, hands, and hearts of ordinary tradesmen who applied their crafts to wood, glass, metal, plaster, bricks and mortar, and concrete. Their master works were never meant to be displayed in museum glass cases, but to be seen, touched and heard by other ordinary men, women and children who came to church, a public space. The aggregate of their labors comprise this edifice that has stood at the corner of Gravois and Ohio for generations. Its cultural value lies not in the creative genius of one artist, but a community of nameless workers who shared a common esteem for lasting, quality craftsmanship. The fruits of their work, seen everywhere throughout the church, are inspirational examples of what can be accomplished by human hands, as long as there are willing hearts and a love of beauty.

The DeSales Heritage Foundation seeks to preserve the extraordinary cultural legacy of these ordinary people, and to make improvements worthy of their vision and their labors.


Complete restoration of the sacristy

An important portion of the church building was restored.

Roof repair

Large sections of the church roof were replaced. Leakages were stopped and dilapidated portions repaired.

Stained glass window restoration

Six large, magnificent, stained glass windows in the sanctuary and four small ones in the transepts have been restored and reinforced.

Climate control greatly improved

Repair and sealing of more than twenty doors and windows resulted in cost savings and energy efficiency

Bells refurbished

The bells and clock in the clock tower were restored; the bells rang again for the first time in decades.

Lighting system upgraded

Modernized with programmable automated lighting controls for energy efficiency.

Electrical system upgraded

Outdated systems have been largely revamped.

Exterior repairs

Emergency tuck pointing applied in damaged areas. Gardens restored.

Surge protection installed

The new lightning protection system has significantly reduced damage to the church due to lightning strikes.

Church interior

Woodwork and intricate carvings restored and maintained.