ARTICLE SHARE: “Black Catholics See Continued Progress on the Road to Canonization for ‘Saintly Six’” (National Catholic Register)
While there are in fact a number of Black Catholic saints (individuals of African heritage/descent that have lived holy Catholic lives and have been canonized) there are no African American Catholic saints as of yet. However, there are currently six Black American holy ones who are on the path to being canonized as saints with some being closer to being raised to the altar than others. These African American Catholic saint candidates have been dubbed the “Saintly Six.” And today I share an article, “Black Catholics See Continued Progress on the Road to Canonization for ‘Saintly Six’” by Peter Jesserer Smith, from the National Catholic Register that covers the lives and sainthood causes of these holy six men and women.
This article is great because it provides an up-to-date look into the canonization causes of these potential African American Catholic saints. Here are some quotes from it:
“Right now, the causes of six African American Catholic men and women, or the “Saintly Six,” as they are commonly known among Black Catholics, are moving forward in various stages. None have been declared “Blessed” yet — the penultimate stage before canonization.”
“The life of Venerable Father Augustus Tolton (1854-1897) can provide inspiration both to Black Catholic men discerning or persevering in their vocation to the priesthood, and to all Catholic priests who may at times feel isolated or marginalized in their vocation by their brother priests and from Church leadership . . . Bishop Perry believes Father Tolton’s example can provide strength and encouragement to Catholics who feel scandalized or discouraged by the poor example of fellow Catholics and leaders in the Church.”
“However, [Servant of God Julia] Greeley went West, settling in Denver. She led an intensely Eucharistic life and performed works of charity, although the prevalence of racism meant that sometimes she had to carry out her mission of mercy to poor white families under the cover of darkness. When she died, a constant stream of mourners came to pay their last respects as her body lay in state for five hours in her parish church.”
“[Servant of God] Mother [Mary] Lange was highly regarded for her commitment to educating Black children and women, establishing homes to care for widows and orphans, and caring for the city when it was struck by cholera.”
“The priest said [Servant of God] Sister Thea [Bowman] today would remind the Church that Catholics have a responsibility to heal and reconcile the wounds of racist policy and practice that has left its mark through the present day.”
I’ve covered five of these Black Catholic holy ones at length on my site, and you can check them out here. So I encourage you to read the article from the Register as a primer and then begin your own investigation into these holy ones that can maybe lead to a relationship of intercession with one or more of these Black Catholic heroes. And then stay tuned to my site and social media extensions as I cover these and other Black Catholic holy ones in the future.
Image: Screenshot from article page. Fair Use.