The PBS documentary Triumph at Carville is a wonderful testimony to the spirit of Vincent, Louise, and Elizabeth Ann–compassionate, loving care for persons rejected by society. “At the premier, I witnessed a 55+ man leap with joy to see a 80+ DC … gave her a bear hug/embrace and said: ‘Sister, I’ll never forget you. How you welcomed me. You gave me a hug and kiss!’ He had arrived at age 20 in a hearse…

Ambulances in his area were reserved for those who would get better! Persons with Hanson’s disease were treated as if they were doomed to die until proper drugs were discovered. One of the DC was on the research team. He was treated, discharged and now married with children. I was profoundly touched.

The research on this documentary began in the Emmitsburg archives and we referred the team to the Daughters of Charity in Saint Louis. Emmitsburg sisters went to Iberville (later Carville) Lepers’ Home at Indian Camp Plantation (later the National Leprosarium) in 1896; the mission was transferred to the Western province in 1910. The rest is history.

Some sisters who served at Carville were flown in for the event.

Triumph at Carville documents the triumph over mankind’s most feared disease—leprosy. The program highlights the history of one of the most unusual communities in America—the Gillis W. Long Hansen’s Disease Center in Louisiana, known throughout the world simply as “Carville.” Viewers are taken inside the gates of the hauntingly beautiful 350-acre former antebellum plantation and introduced to patients, nuns, doctors, and other U.S. Public Health Service staff whose long collaboration achieved a unique medical “gift” for the entire world.


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