After being delayed several times, here is the official post about The Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception as it relates to The Possession Chronicles. As a refresher, here is the link to the post with the Part 1, which has a bird’s eye view of the downtown Mobile area–including the cathedral. That post followed several others about the historic homes that serve as inspiration for the characters’ houses. Check those out here and here.
All the modern photos on today’s blog post were taken by me within the past five years, with the exception of the photo with me in it, which was taken by my friend and writing buddy Joyce Scarbrough.
The cathedral is close to 200 years old and is an iconic part of Mobile’s eclectic architecture. The building isn’t tall compared to the modern skyscrapers now populating the area, but see how it dwarves the automobiles in the photo above. As noted in the acknowledgements in Perilous Confessions, Cathedral Square was not in existence during The Possession Chronicles timeline. The park across from the cathedral was completed in the 1990s–a purposely chosen twisting of history to suit an author’s needs.
My favorite location on the cathedral grounds is the portico. It is truly awe-inspiring to stand on it. I’ve written a lot of scenes there, including in my first novel, Fortitude.
Aunt Norah puts on a feast for dinner and she and Mama enjoy the evening together. After supper, Kevin and I accompany them to The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. We pray and light candles and then congregate on the portico of the cathedral amid a gathering of women with their best fans warding off the heat. A few men use their hats to cool themselves too.
“This must be what it’s like to be near God. I feel small, like I don’t matter,” Kevin whispers to me.
“You matter, so don’t worry about feeling like an ant.”
“I never said a bug.” He looks like he’s been holding a burden of his own and is ready to lay it at the door of this massive church.
On the sixteenth of May, Eliza held her brother’s arm as they ascended the steps to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Mobile for the noon wedding Mass of Edmund Albert Easton and Mary Margaret Fitzgerald.
Circling a column like Folly in his approach, Sean’s golden eyes sparked mischief. “Have you come to celebrate escaping Edmund’s clutches?”
Laughing, Eliza offered her hand. “You know me well, Sean.”
–Mosaic of Seduction
Catholics were well represented from the early days of Mobile’s rich French and Spanish beginnings and it was the Mobile Catholics who started the first carnival “Mardi Gras” in the country–which I touched on in this 2020 post. The prevalence of Catholics in Mobile is what caused me to use their faith for the majority of my characters. According to several Catholic readers I’ve heard from, I portrayed “Catholic guilt” well.
The cathedral wasn’t made into a Basilica until the 1960s, when the basement crypt for the bishops was added. I don’t have any information on the basement from before it was updated for that, so I used my imagination for the basement scene in Haunted Remains.
Did I cover the highlights you were expecting? Tell me if there is anything else you want to know and I’ll do my best to answer the questions. For more information, you can also check out the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception’s website.
And, in case you missed last week’s cover reveal, here it is again–with the cathedral.