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The Bishops of Natchez

St. Mary Basilica Archives

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 1798 – 1888, Most Rev. Richard O. Gerow, Seventh Bishop of Natchez

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Why is there a special sink in the sacristy?

The ‘sacrarium’ is a special sink that has a drain directly to the ground to ensure the proper disposal of sacred elements. If you have ever been in the sacristy inside a Catholic church, the room set aside for preparing the liturgy, you may have noticed two sinks. … Read more

All Souls Day 2019 Natchez City Cemetery

All Souls Day

It all started in 1861. As the Civil War was beginning, Bishop Elder realized that Plot 1, was filling up--don’t forget that our early church members from Spanish Days were being transferred from the graveyard where … Read more

St. Mary Orphan Asylum

St. Mary Orphan Asylum

Bishop John Joseph Chanche, S.S. arrived at Natchez on May 18, 1841. As spiritual father he knew provisions must be made to care for orphans. He arranged with Daughters of Charity of St Joseph to found an orphanage for girls in Natchez. Sister Martha, Sister Philomena and Sister Scholastica arrived in Natchez by boat from Emmitsburg, Maryland, at 11:00 o'clock on the evening of January 28, 1847. … Read more

Historic Natchez Foundation Mary Postlethwaite History Award

Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral