St. Mary Basilica Archives

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The Bishops of Natchez


History serves many purposes. Not only does the story of the past provide interesting entertainment; not only does it often serve as a useful guide in charting our course, but the story of noble deeds of those who have gone before us stirs the soul, encouraging and inspiring us by example.

The struggles and sacrifices of our ancestors in the faith, who have given to us a heritage not only of material buildings but of a tradition of faith and zeal, should be to us a source of inspiration urging us to carry on, that we too may do our part in building up the Kingdom of Christ.

In the story presented in this volume, we see the small group of faithful souls at Natchez, for many years without a resident priest, longing for the spiritual ministrations of the Church; we see the struggles of the pioneer bishops, priests and laity to give to themselves and to future generations the magnificent Cathedral which today raises its graceful spire heavenward, and the schools and the orphanages, which are today a source of blessing in our midst. Surely we of today have reason to be eternally grateful to those pioneers who have bequeathed to us such a rich heritage.

Cradle Days of St. Mary's at Natchez (1941), Most Rev. Richard O. Gerow, Seventh Bishop of Natchez


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All Souls Day Cemetery Procession William Maier on Catholic Hill for the 2017 procession

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Restoration of the 19th Century Gothic Cross Corpus Christi, Annie Skehan Gerow and SHCJ Tour

Referred to as the Bishop John J. Chanche crucifix, it was discovered in the crypt of the basilica hanging high on the wall out of sight, heavily wrapped in plastic. It was “broken and bruised” with old, unprofessional repairs. During a tour for the St Mary Basilica Archive committee, Betsy Holleman was so moved to express that her family would like to have it restored… Read more


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Historic Natchez Foundation Mary Postlethwaite History Award

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Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral