Let ’em Speak On It: Notable Quotes From Black Catholics 3 – Fr. Cyprian Davis, OSB (Black Catholic History Month 2019)
This is the third edition of a new article-series I am starting called “Let ’em Speak On It: Notable Quotes From Black Catholics.” This series is simply posts featuring a quote said either by or at least in relation to Black/African Catholics and Black Catholicism. The quote itself maybe be from a historical figure/document or a current one. Because Black Catholics come at the Faith from a unique and important angle it’s only right if you “let ’em speak on it.” Sometimes I might offer a brief thought on the featured quote, and sometimes I will simply it speak for itself. At the end I will add a small bio about who the person/document is and provide a link or two to more information. For all throughout Black Catholic History Month I will post them every Monday.
This week’s quote is from a Black Benedictine monk who was the first to integrate his monastic community in 1950 and during his time was the leading historian on the history of Black Catholics in America.
“The story of African American Catholicism is the story of a people who obstinately clung to a faith that gave them sustenance, even when it did not always make them welcome. Like many others, blacks had to fight for their faith; but their fight was often with members of their own household. Too long have black Catholics been anonymous. It is now clear that they can be identified, that their presence has made an impact, and that their contributions have made Catholicism a unique and stronger body.“
– Fr. Cyprian Davis, OSB;
From Fr. Cyprian’s The History of Black Catholics in the United States
Background on Fr. Cyprian Davis, OSB
Fr. Cyprian Davis (September 9, 1930 – May 18, 2015) was a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indian. He was born Clarence John in Washington D.C. He converted to the Catholic faith when he was still a teenager. He later felt a call to the priesthood and monastic life and entered the Order of St. Benedict in 1950 at Saint Meinrad becoming the first Black monk of that community. A year later he took the name Cyprian. He was ordained a priest in 1956. Fr. Cyprian went on to become the leading scholar on the history of African American Catholicism. The acclaimed The History of Black Catholics in the United States is his pinnacle work.
More on Fr. Cyprian and his work
Fr. Cyprian’s Wikipedia page.
National Catholic Reporter’s 2015 article on his life.
Fr. Cyprian’s book The History of Black Catholics in the United States. (Amazon)
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Recent Black Catholic History Month 2019 Posts
This week’s featured Black saint/holy one: Ven. Pierre Toussaint
Last week’s Let ’em Speak On It: Quote from Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman
Last week’s featured Black Catholic interview: CTU’s 2016 Interview With Dr. Shannen Dee Williams on History of Black Catholic Sisters