Pioneer Catholics

"The yellow fever broke out in Fernandina in 1877 while we were on retreat in Saint Augustine. On the last day of retreat exercises, having heard of the plague, the four Sisters belonging to the Fernandina mission started home directly for the scene of death to devote themselves to the sick and dying."
- Sister Marie Julie Roussel, a Sister of Saint Joseph, Mandarin, Fla., March 1886
Source: "Beyond the Call, The Legacy of the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine, Florida"


It's widely known that Florida's Catholic history dates to the mid-1500s. Lesser known are the stories of  clergy, religious, and lay Catholics who quietly practiced their faith and established parishes and missions during the 19th century and early 20th century, occasionally in the face of mistrust, suspicion and discrimination.

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