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
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.)
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 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 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
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
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
View photos and read the excerpt from The Unhurried Years: Memories of the Old Natchez Region by Pierce Butler (1948)… Read more
St. Mary Basilica, the mother church of Mississippi Catholicism is blessed with many beautiful treasures, the magnificent stained glass windows, carrara marble… Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Stained glass panel above the sacristy door
In Memory of Mary Agnes Burns Frye