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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


Latest from the Archives

All Souls Day 2019 Natchez City Cemetery
All Souls Day 2019 Natchez City Cemetery

All Souls Day 2019

Welcome, I was just sitting here reminiscing over my life. I am Anthony Aversi and I was born in Sorrento, Italy in 1811. I know you think I am someone else but I will get to that soon enough. … Read more


Stations of the Cross in St. Mary Basilica

The Stations of the Cross currently adorning the walls of St. Mary Basilica were donated by a group of families according to St Mary’s Parish Accounts, 1865-1891, 82 and insert. These parish families were Kiernan, Payne, O’Connell, Quegles, Botto, Noonan, Lambert, Hogan, Boyle, O’Conley, Sweet, Grillo, Arrighi, and Elward. The Sunday School children also made a contribution … Read more


Corbel Heads in St. Mary Basilica

Corbels originally carved from stone were intended to support an architectural element. In St Mary, however, they are plaster and strictly decorative. They are part of the ornamental plaster works installed in 1858-1859 during the completion of the interior of the cathedral … 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