The Last Leper’s Colony

Carville Museum

Excuse me here for reminiscing.

But way, way, back in the wayback machine, we learned in grammar school all about Carville, and the Leper’s Colony on the Mississippi River, out in the middle of nowhere, where lepers were sent to live… and to die. Eventually a cure was found, and the name leprosy was renamed to Hansen’s Disease, and it’s no longer to be feared.

That’s about all we learned. It was.. way, way back and all that. The place was still open.

It was a fascinating and mysterious place to hear about, and always evoked mysterious images in our minds.  After all… Jesus cured lepers.  And they were sent… away.


Visiting the museum, tells a simply passionate story.

carville hilary

The Daughters of Charity were called upon to the found the place, and they didn’t want to. (Who could blame them, really?) The facilities were a ruined plantation and some slave quarters.

But the Provincial of the order visited and decided it was truly a worthy cause, and so it came to be.

The nuns, many of whom probably knew Margaret, yes Margaret, that Margaret, personally, they walked with her, and talked with her and were at her funeral….  were then called to start a leper’s colony in an old, ruined plantation house that was falling apart, and ridden with bats, rats, and no doubt … roaches.

How awful.

The above by the way is Sr. Hilary’s camera. Sr. Hilary Ross was the head of the center for decades, and instrumental in the research and cure of leprosy.

She was an accomplished photographer, which was just the spiritual boost I needed today.

carville microscope

This was a microscope she used.   She never even went to high school, and helped not only cure Hansen’s Disease, but also helped to promote and encourage hope amongst the hopeless.  The community at Carville developed into quite a thriving and creative group of people.

carville casket

That long basket back there… that’s what was used before bodybags.

One of my friends was telling me his sister loved gruesome things, the more gore the better. I told him she’d totally love this place. But really, it’s not gory at all, it’s just fascinating.

Very information driven, a lot packed into a small space.

Still, I found myself not wanting to touch anything. The stigma of leprosy…   There was a Holy Water Bottle that the nuns kept in their Chapel, and the typed label said:  “Please Touch! It’s just Holy Water.”

carville cemetery

There are two graveyards, only one on the self guided tour. God rest them, all.

If you ever have the opportunity, National Hansen’s Disease Museum. Or at least take A Virtual Tour of the National Hansen’s Disease Musem.

Diaper Drive!

Rianna midst the Gardens

Great Diaper Drive this weekend, thanks to our Pro-Life Committee.

And great gardens thanks both to our Grow With Us garden ministry of volunteers, and to John Mayronne’s professional eye.

The full picture….

diaper drive

PS – Thanks Rianna, for helping out with the drive!

I have a Headache

Mystery Catholic Theater

Following this Synod, the one going on in Rome, is giving me a headache.

A controversial letter is alleged:

But then denied:

It goes on and on of course. But for now, there’s an Alfred Hitchcock marathon on TCM, and it’s my “day off”.


The Daily Walk, Bees and Sky

O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, hasten to help me.

My daily walk the other day took my past a
huge hive of bees

Doesn’t that just remind you of the Easter Vigil?

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.


Bright shall be the glory of wise counsellors, as the radiance of the sky above; starry-bright for ever their glory, who have taught many the right way.
Daniel 12:3


The Rev. Kenneth Allen