The Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province is comprised of the former New Orleans and Missouri Provinces. During the American Civil War, these provinces would have been on opposing sides, and tensions arose even among Jesuits. At times, however, these grievances were resolved in surprising ways.
General William Tecumseh Sherman, general for the Union Army during the American Civil War, known for his infamous, fiery march to the sea, was married to Ellen Ewing, a devout Catholic. Their children were raised Catholic, and their son Thomas entered the Jesuits and was ordained a priest. He was a member of the former Missouri Province, but was buried in the Jesuit graveyard at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La.
Father John Salter, SJ, was the grandnephew of Alexander Stephens, vice-president of the Confederacy. Salter was a member of the former New Orleans Province. He, too, is buried at St. Charles College.
Because of the proximity of the dates of their deaths, they lie in adjacent graves in the St. Charles College cemetery. Although their ancestors would have been sworn enemies, these Jesuit descendants found unity in Ignatian brotherhood and eternal rest side-by-side.
Enemies lying beside each other in peace.
The headstones, written in Latin, read:
Fr. Thomas E. Sherman, S.J.
Born 26 Oct 1956
Entered 16 Jul 1878
Died 29 April 1933
Fr. John M. Salter, S.J.
Born 23 Jun 1877
Entered 12 Sept 1894
Died 2 May 1933