Cluny Media

Bury Me in the Sunshine

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By John Vidmar, O.P.

We are drawn to accounts of disasters, writes John Vidmar, O.P., “not because of the human destruction that happens, but because of the human spirit that somehow survives and overcomes them, either in death (strangely) or in life.” Widely unknown and rarely discussed, the yellow fever epidemics of Memphis are among the worst tragedies in American history, each wave rife with fear and frustration, disaster and unspeakable devastation. Yet rising over and above all the turmoil and anguish was the indomitable strength and heroism of the human spirit. Embodying that spirit are actual men and women—doctors and nurses; priests and nuns, rabbis and ministers; journalists and editors—whose striving and sacrifice vanquished a deadly disease.

The story of the yellow fever epidemics has never been told in its entirety. Bury Me in the Sunshine issues an inspiring correction to that historical negligence because it tells the tale through the lives and workings of those very men and women who were at its core, especially the Catholic clergy and religious whose contribution to foiling the fever was of paramount importance.

Bury me in the sunshine.
Let its warmth and gentle ray
Shine forth upon my sepulcher…
So peaceful I shall slumber
While my soul returns to God.
” (
Joseph W. Turner)

John Vidmar, O.P., is associate professor of history at Providence College in Rhode Island. His other published works include The Catholic Church through the Ages: A History (Paulist) and English Catholic Historians and the English Reformation (Sussex Academic).

ISBN: 978-1952826382

Paperback: 326pp.

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