St. Francis Xavier School - US Civil War - Vicksburg, MS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 32° 20.926 W 090° 52.700
15S E 699660 N 3581073
Quick Description: St. Francis Xavier School was founded by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy order in 1860. During the siege of Vicksburg, the building was converted into a field hospital.
Location: Mississippi, United States
Date Posted: 9/29/2014 3:12:23 PM
Waymark Code: WMMJT2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 1

Long Description:
St. Francis Xavier School was founded in 1860 by the Roman Catholic Sisiers of Mercy order of nuns. It was the first school in Vicksburg.

The original building is still standing along Vicksburg's historic Crawford Street. St. Francis Xavier is directly across the street from the Willis-Cowan House, which would become one of Confederate General John Pemberton's headquarters during the siege of Vicksburg.

When the Union fleet began bombarding the city, the Sisters and their students fled the city. A month later (before the end of the siege) the sisters returned to find their school building filled with wounded soldiers. The sisters stayed and cared for them through the end of the siege, sometimes even evacuating with them. After the siege ended and the city was occupied by Federal forces, the Sisters of Mercy continued caring for the sick and wounded.

From the Mississippi Mercy website: (visit link)


In 1860, the Sisters founded the very first school in Vicksburg,
St. Francis Xavier Academy.

In late 1860, six Sisters of Mercy, led by Sister Mary DeSales Browne, traveled half-way across the country from Baltimore to a tiny river city called Vicksburg, located near the border of Mississippi and Louisiana. Father F. X. Leray had called on them to educate the children of the city, who had no access to education – not even a public school. The Sisters opened the town’s first school less than a week after arriving.

Nearly two years later, the school was shuttered as Sisters and families fled into the hills to avoid the cannon fire of the Civil War. After about a month, the Sisters returned to find their former school filled with sick and injured soldiers. They immediately began providing nursing care. During the heaviest battles, the injured were removed to areas of safety and the Sisters accompanied them to continue their care.

In 1864, Mother Mary DeSales Browne returned to Vicksburg and reopened the school with 200 students and only four Sisters.

In 1878, when a particularly harsh epidemic of yellow fever broke out in Vicksburg, Mother Mary DeSales Browne took over City Hospital, where the Sisters nursed as many as 300 patients a day.

In 1943, the Sisters assumed operations of a hospital, which they renamed Mercy Hospital. During their 48 years of service, it was designated a Regional Pediatric Polio Center and treated victims of numerous natural disasters. The Sisters served there until 1991, when Mercy sold the hospital to Quorum Health Care.

Today Mercy ministers in Mississippi through the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program (MHAP) in Jackson, Mississippi. MHAP was started in 1992, at the urging of Sister Cyrena Harkins, RSM, to be a collaborative effort aimed at improving health policies, practices and funding in Mississippi, especially for the poor and needy."

Today (2014) this historic building is home to the Southern Cultural Center.
Cherry St at Crawford St

Name of War: U. S. Civil War

Type of Documentation: Web Page/Historical Documentation

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Benchmark Blasterz visited St. Francis Xavier School - US Civil War - Vicksburg, MS 10/1/2014 Benchmark Blasterz visited it