Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Despite my lapsed Catholic status, I had no idea what a Minor Basilica was until I researched this post.  There are just 4 Major Basilicas in the world and are regarded as personal churches for the Pope.  There are many Minor Basilicas which are an elevation of  a Cathedral, followed by Churches and finally  Chapels.

The Parish of Natchitoches in Louisiana was first founded in 1728 and the first church was built within the walls of the Fort St Jean Baptiste circa 1729-1733.  Pope Pius IX granted Cathedral status to the 6th Church of the Immaculate Conception in 1853. The current Minor Basilica, below and in all the images, is the 7th church built in the general area.

The building above is the current and hopefully final building.  It was completed circa 1900-1905.  Pope Benedict elevated it from a Cathedral to Minor Basilica status in 2009.  The turbulent history surrounding the Basilica belies its peaceful appearance, from its beginning in colonial Louisiana through fire, Civil War and finally a magnificent edifice in a sleepy little town.

I was struck by how this architecture and interior differed from Cathedrals and Churches in Texas. It echoed the French style of the original Arcadian settlers. The arches were so finely painted in gold and the chandeliers sparkled. On the first stained glass image you can see the Fleur de Lys, the state flower and symbol of Louisiana.

32 thoughts on “Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

  1. Don’t you just love how stained-glass pieces dance with colour and light to produce visual displays that inspire wonder and remind us of the majesty this mysterious world has to offer? Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day, Kerry 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are only 4 major Basilicas and are all i Rome!!!! I love stained glass. It is a difficult process but I found the sound of cutting glass used set my teeth on edge. However a stained glass window will always lure me to investigate. Great Post Kerry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Noilin! Our parish church in Scotland was designed by a prominent architect in the late 50s. The stained glass was modern, as was the church, but it wasn’t my taste. That said, still love stained glass!


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