Listen to a five-part PODCAST about the Five Yellow Fever Priests
Father Peter Mangum, Dr. Cheryl White and Ryan Smith have undertaken a major international project involving the Diocese of Shreveport and several dioceses in Brittany, France – the purpose of which will commemorate the five priests who died in the 1873 Yellow Fever epidemic in Shreveport. The three have worked together to write a book, a graphic novel, and have produced a podcast. Extensive archival research has been undertaken in three dioceses in France in order to take the cause of these priests to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.
Shreveport was the epicenter of a true major public health crisis caused by an outbreak of Yellow Fever. The Catholic Church led the entire community during those very uncertain times – by doing all it could to comfort the ill and dying, and to stop the spread of a poorly understood disease.
In this time of a true public health crisis, let us especially remember our five 1873 priests, martyrs to their charity:
+ Fr. Isidore Quemerais (died September 15, 1873) – Associate Pastor of Holy Trinity, Shreveport
+ Fr. Jean Pierre (died September 16, 1873) – First Pastor of Holy Trinity, Shreveport
+ Fr. Jean Marie Biler (died September 26, 1873) – Chaplain, Daughters of the Cross Convent, Shreveport
+ Fr. Louis Gergaud (died October 1, 1873) – Pastor of St. Matthew’s in Monroe
+ Fr. Francois Le Vezouet (died October 8, 1873) – Priest of Natchitoches, Founding Pastor of St. John the Baptist in Many
The epidemic of 1873 in Shreveport is the third worst documented in United States history. The city lost a quarter of its population in less than eight (8) weeks, and these priests willingly gave their lives as “martyrs to their charity” dying in the service of anyone of any religion and race who were sick and dying.
This was a pivotal moment in Shreveport history, and the witness of their courage and sacrifice is a model for us all.
We pray, through their intercession, that sickness may be healed, anxiety comforted, caregivers protected, and that wisdom be bestowed on those in authority and prudence to all.
Jesus, see us in our need and have mercy on us. Amen.
If you wish to have a set of five holy cards sent to you, please, make the request with a self-addressed and stamped envelope.