Welcome To 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 (1941), Most Rev. Richard O. Gerow, Seventh Bishop of Natchez


Historic Natchez Foundation Mary Postlethwaite History Award 2010


From The Archives Desk

St Mary Orphan Asylum

St. Mary Orphan Asylum for Girls

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… Read more


Alfred Bernard White

Alfred Bernard White died tragically

Alfred Bernard White was the adopted son of Clay and Julia White, who co-owned White's Café at 431 Main Street in Natchez. A popular and athletic young man, Bernard was a favorite among classmates at Catholic High School… Read more


St. Mary Chapel

St. Mary Chapel Laurel Hill Plantation

I do not know who designed the building , but the builder of the Chapel was a competent, and very eccentric, carpenter and contractor, old Mr. Hardie of Natchez. It is a brick building, stucco covered… Read more


The Maria Alexandrina

Maria Alexandrina St. Mary's Bell

The history of this bell is interesting. The Mississippi Free Trader on Wednesday, May 15, 1850, announced its arrival in Natchez as follows: "The Bell of St. Mary’s. Cathedral. This gift of the generous Prince Torlonia arrived on the steamer… Read more

From The Archives Desk the latest and more


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… Read more

St. Mary Orphan Asylum for Girls

Alfred Bernard White

Alfred Bernard White was the adopted son of Clay and Julia White, who co-owned White's Café at 431 Main Street in Natchez. A popular and athletic young man, Bernard was a favorite among classmates at Catholic High School… Read more

Alfred Bernard White died tragically

St. Mary Chapel

I do not know who designed the building , but the builder of the Chapel was a competent, and very eccentric, carpenter and contractor, old Mr. Hardie of Natchez. It is a brick building, stucco covered, about fifty by twenty-five feet, with a Gothic… Read more

St. Mary Chapel Laurel Hill Plantation

The Maria Alexandrina

The history of this bell is interesting. The Mississippi Free Trader on Wednesday, May 15, 1850, announced its arrival in Natchez as follows: "The Bell of St. Mary’s. Cathedral. This gift of the generous Prince Torlonia arrived on the steamer… Read more

Maria Alexandrina St. Mary's Bell

Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral