The Rev. Francis Guth retired from St. Louis' Church in April, 1850, and the French speaking people also withdrew, and with Father Guth they organized the French congregation of St. Peter's. They bought a plain brick building on the corner of Washington and Clinton Streets, which had been erected five or six years before by the Baptists. The building had a high basement, and here a school was formed under the direction of Brother Ferreol. Father Guth left in August, 1851, and was succeeded by the Rev. Edward Chevalier. He remained about one year, when the Rev. J. M. Maurice took charge until October, 1855.
The Rev. J. P. Klein, who followed Father Maurice, dwelt in the basement of the church. The church was incorporated in his pastorate, and the seven trustees became the managing body.
The Rev. N. Sester, vicar general for the French and Germans, came in June, 1869, and soon placed the affairs of the congregation in good financial shape.
The Rev. Joseph Sorg came in 1867, for some months; the Rev. L. LeBreton for one year; the Rev. Joseph Boegel for nearly two years; the Rev. Charles Berard for six years; the Rev. F. X. Ulrich, the Rev. R. Faure, D. D., the Rev. J. Canmer, for different periods until 1886, when the Rev. Joseph Fenger was appointed.
The little old church was falling to decay; the site was valuable for business, and the pastor began to negotiate for a more favorable locality. The congregation finally approved of the site selected by Bishop Quigley and the pastor, at the corner of Main and Best Streets. Here they erected a splendid stone church, which was dedicated January 14, 1905, by Bishop Quigley, under the double title of St. Peter and Our Lady of Lourdes.
The congregation is scattered but the members cherish the traditions of their race, and many come occasionally from distant parts of the city to listen to the word of God in the French church.
Father Fenger died April 1, 1908, and the Rev. Martin Phillips was appointed pastor. Soon after taking charge Father Phillips built the fine brick school and hall.
Father Phillips died September 20, 1924, and the Rev. Albert Rivers
came as pastor. Father Rivers decided to remodel the church, so he
enlarged the sanctuary and placed pillars in the Basilica style which enhanced
the beauty of the building and gave more room for the congregation.