CATHOLICS OF COLOR
Several canonized and potential saints have already helped to pioneer the Church’s path toward equality for all its members.Born in Peru to a Spanish father and a Black mother (15791639), St. Martin de Porres has long been a patron of Black Catholics. In recent years, he has been joined by a growing number of role models, including:
Pierre Toussaint (17761853), a former slave who became an entrepreneur and philanthropist and has been declared “Venerable,” one phase of his canonization cause.
Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange (17841882), foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence.
Mother Henriette Delille (18131862), foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family, also declared “Venerable.”
Julia Greeley (born between 1833 and 1848; died 1918), a former slave who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Sister Thea Bowman (19371990), who became a Catholic as a child and entered religious life as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration
Father Augustus Tolton (18541897), a former slave who became the first known Black Catholic diocesan priest in the United States. He, too, has been declared “Venerable.
“Others, though not themselves of color, have been partners in that process. Philadelphia’s St. Katharine Drexel, who devoted her life and her family fortune to the service of African Americans and Native Americans.
Martin de Porres, Tolton, Thea Bowman these people didn’t look at themselves as victims, but as children of God, with gifts to offer and gifts to bring to the Church.