THE ICON: Francis Xavier Seelos
THE LEGACY: Francis Xavier Seelos’ time in New Orleans wasn’t long. He arrived in 1866 to serve as pastor of the Church of St. Mary’s Assumption in the Irish Channel. He died the following year, in October 1867. In that short time, however, Seelos inspired the city through his unflagging hope and selflessness. It was the latter quality that spurred him to the care for the city’s poor and infirm. It was also what killed him, as he contracted yellow fever while caring for local victims of the disease. Three weeks later, he was dead. In 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Seelos, placing him one step away from sainthood.
THE ARTIST: Saegan Swanson, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “I have come here to pass the rest of my days and find a lasting resting place at Saint Mary’s. I feel I have traveled enough. I shall never leave New Orleans.” — Francis Xavier Seelos