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From The Archives Desk


The Stations of the Cross in St. Mary

SUBMITTED BY MARY EIDT, ST. MARY BASILICA ARCHIVES COMMITTEE

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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.

These Stations of the Cross replaced earlier ones. The first Stations were installed in the 1860s by Bishop William Henry Elder. They were simple crosses.

The second Stations of the Cross in the Basilica were removed and discarded or donated to another church in need as is customary when replacements are installed.

Like the statues and other objects in the Basilica, the Stations of the Cross were refurbished by Conrad Schmidt Studios after the straight line winds damaged the church in 1998.

The Stations of the Cross are visual reminders of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, especially during Lent when parishioners join together to pray.

Through the years, St. Mary Basilica has been blessed with extraordinary generosity of members who have furnished and maintained the church for future generations.


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Corbel Heads in St. Mary Basilica

SUBMITTED BY ST. MARY BASILICA ARCHIVES COMMITTEE

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 by Bishop William Henry Elder. … Read more


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The 19th Century Gothic Crucifix

BY J.E. GUERCIO

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. By coincidence the Conrad Schmidtt firm in Wisconsin, which had restored the interior of the basilica in 2001, was restoring the cathedral in Jackson and offered to take on the restoration, and the rest is history… Read more


The Archives Committee is interested in anecdotes, short stories, and recollections of people and events about St. Mary Parish and Catholicism in Natchez. Oral history of the parish complements the printed word.

You may be the only person who can recall and relate a specific event, tell about a personality, or reveal pertinent historical information. All submitted material is subject to review and editing by the committee for publication on the archives web site.

Please share your information with the archives committee. (Material can be sent or delivered to the church office.)


View our past articles From The Archive Desk

Corpus Christi

BY MARY BELLAN EIDT

The feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) is celebrated to commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist.
One of ten holy days of obligation in the Latin church, the feast day falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. However, in some countries, including the United States, the feast has been moved from Thursday to the following Sunday. This year Corpus Christi falls on June 15 but will be celebrated on June 18 in St. Mary Basilica… Read more


Annie Skehan Gerow

BY MICHAEL MURPHY

Annie Skehan Gerow mother of Richard O. Gerow seventh bishop of Natchez was born 15 January 1854. In Bishop Gerow’s book Catholicity in Mississippi it is recorded that his mother Annie was born in County Tipperary Ireland, although the 1880 federal census and the 1900 federal census show that she and her siblings, Lizzie, Mary, Delia and Richard were born in New York… Read more


The Visitors

BY MARY BELLAN EIDT

The Archives Committee of Saint Mary Basilica hosted a special group of visitors on April 1, 2017. Three sisters and 18 associates of the Society of the Holy… Read more


Blessing the Gabriel Gireaudeau cover stone

BY THE ARCHIVES COMMITTEE

On July 12, 2016, Father Leopold Keffler, O.F. M. Conv., blessed the grave stone of Gabriel Gireaudeau that was returned in June 2016 to it original location… Read more


St. Mary's Orphan Asylum for Girls

BY ANNETTE BURNS

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… Read more


St. Mary Basilica Archives tour of St. Mary Chapel

BY THE ARCHIVES COMMITTEE

View photos and read the excerpt from The Unhurried Years: Memories of the Old Natchez Region by Pierce Butler (1948)… Read more


The Maria Alexandrina

PHOTOGRAPHED BY STEPHEN FLOWERS

St. Mary Basilica, the mother church of Mississippi Catholicism is blessed with many beautiful treasures, the magnificent stained glass windows, carrara marble… Read more


Student Discovers Lithograph of Archbishop Elder

BY J.E. GUERCIO

Archbishop William Henry Elder has returned to his beloved bishopric in Natchez, Mississippi. The lithograph was discovered by James Walters of Holy Angels Catholic Church in Sidney, Ohio.

James is in the eleventh grade of Riverside High School in DeGraff, and "is big into history", says his dad, Rod Walters. "He had been researching our own church history when he spotted the lithograph of Elder sitting on the floor of an antique shop covered with dirt daubers".

The young Walters recognized Archbishop Elder who founded his church of the Holy Angel. After discovering St. Mary Basilica Archives web site and the link to the Bishops of Natchez, James decided to donate the picture to St. Mary Basilica.

The lithograph (after repairs) will hang in the old baptistry of the basilica where the stature of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is displayed--a gift of Archbishop Elder in 1883.

The memory of Bishop Elder is precious to the diocese as a result of the hardships he and his clergy suffered during the Civil War. He served the diocese from 1857 to 1880… More about Bishop Elder


The Holy Water Fonts in St. Mary Basilica

BY J.E. GUERCIO

After one hundred and fifty years the memory and significance of the two beautiful holy water fonts on the left and right entrance, have been lost in time along… Read more


St. Mary Basilica Archives Honored

CONTRIBUTED BY MICHAEL MURPHY

The Historic Natchez Foundation honored the Archives Committee of St. Mary Basilica with the Mary Postlethwaite History Award at the annual meeting on… Read more


D’Evereux Hall, Natchez, Mississippi

BY BROTHER XAVIER WERNETH, S.C.

In August of 1854, Bishop Jacques Van de Velde, SJ, of Natchez, Mississippi, visited Bay St. Louis where he met several Brothers of the Sacred Heart and… Read more


A Brief Biography

BY BROTHER XAVIER WERNETH, S.C.

Louis Stanislaus Marie Buteux was born in Paris, July 2, 1808, into a well established Catholic family. The Buteux family of France had given a martyr to the… Read more


St. Thérèse Chapel (Donated by A. W. Berdon 1936)

BY J.E. GUERCIO

This dedication is on a small bronze plaque that has recently been reinstalled in St. Thérèse Hall. When you enter the hall look on the left wall. Thank you… Read more


The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin

BY J.E. GUERCIO

What's in a name? Plenty, when it concerns the dogma of the Catholic Church. Recent research of the large painting of Mary in the rectory parlor… Read more


History of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

BY DONNIE VERUCCHI

An Italian from Vicksburg, a man named Tirelli, who worked for the large plantation owners as an agent, conceived the idea of introducing Italian peasant farmers… Read More


Archives

BY JOSEPH N. LATINO, BISHOP OF JACKSON

I would like to thank the St. Mary Basilica Archives Committee for inviting me to share some thoughts on their web site. I have always been very interested in history… Read More


St. Mary’s Archives: A Personal Recollection

BY CHARLES E. NOLAN

My first visit to the St. Mary’s in Natchez was in early October of 1975. As part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ gift to the nation in honor of the upcoming… Read More


Nicolas Nicollet and the Reverend Pierce Connelly in Natchez

BY JEANNE MARIE GUERIN, SHCJ

Two brilliant men encountered each other in Natchez, Mississippi, in the early 1830s. Most likely they met at a social gathering in the home of Major Henry… Read More


Gilbert's Place: 1818-2009, Jefferson County, Mississippi

BY SISTER VIRGINIA DELANEY, D.C.

God certainly knows where Gilbert’s Place is because He sent some special people there to live and many that came to minister to the people. The home… Read more


Accomplishments, Donations and Discoveries

BY J.E. GUERCIO

St. Mary Basilica Archives Committee was founded on 24 October 2005. It evolved out of the Religious Education Committee. We meet every Tuesday morning after Mass… Read More


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Stained glass panel above the sacristy door
In Memory of Mary Agnes Burns Frye


Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral