These priests, all from Brittany, France, served throughout our diocese, from Shreveport to Sabine Parish, from Minden and Homer, to Monroe and the Delta, and from the See city at that time, Natchitoches.
Fr. Isidore Quémerais, born on Sept. 9, 1847, in Pleine-Fougères.
Ordained in Natchitoches, in January 1871
Ministered in the Parishes of Rapides – Avoyelles – Caddo
Died September 15, 1873, age 26, buried at St. Joseph Cemetery, Shreveport..
Fr. Jean Pierre, born on Sept. 29, 1831, in Lanloup, France.
Ordained in Natchitoches, on Sept. 22, 1855
Ministered in the Parishes of DeSoto – Caddo – Bossier – Webster – Claiborne
Died September 16, 1873, buried at St. Joseph Cemetery, Shreveport.
Fr. Jean Marie Biler, born on Nov. 18, 1839, in Plourivo, France.
Ordained in St. Brieuc, France, on Dec. 17, 1864
Ministered in Caddo Parish, at St. Vincent’s Convent
Died September 26, 1873, buried with the sisters in the mausoleum of Forest Park, Shreveport.
Fr. Louis Gergaud, born on March 22, 1832, born in Héric, France .
Ordained in Nantes, France, for service in Natchitoches, on Sept. 23, 1854
Ministered in the Parishes of Ouachita – Morehouse – Union – Webster – Claiborne – Caldwell – Franklin
Died October 1, 1873, buried in St. Matthew’s Cemetery, Monroe.
and Fr. François LeVézouët, born on August 10, 1833, in Brélidy, France.
Ordained in Natchitoches, on May 3, 1856.
Ministered in Sabine and Natchitoches Parishes, and in the bishop’s office.
Died October 8, 1873, buried at St. Joseph Cemetery, Shreveport.
2023 will be the 150th anniversary of their free offer of their lives. The third-worst epidemic of Yellow Fever that is documented in United States history occurred in Shreveport, between late August and mid-November of 1873. The city lost one-fourth of its population (approximately 1,200 deaths) to the epidemic in less than three months. The dramatic effects of this epidemic are apparent in the crisis situation that resulted from the imposition of a federal quarantine, citizen curfews, and a critical lack of supportive medical care and caregivers. Resources to care for the sick and dying were scarce, as trained medical personnel were among the first to die, and many others chose to flee the city. In a community ravaged by disease on so significant a scale, there were many of its citizens who fled for the safety of towns in the surrounding regions. Among those who stayed to care for the victims were two Roman Catholic priests assigned to the city, and one from the neighboring township of Fairfield. Among those who came to Shreveport from the safety of remote unaffected areas were a Roman Catholic priest from Monroe, and one from Natchitoches. By mid-October, all five priests were dead from the illness, each having made a clear choice of conscience to sacrifice their own lives in the care of others.
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