“Black (And Catholic) Like Me” Article-Series Introduction and Black Saints Page
The Black Saints and Holy Ones page is official up and running. Above is a screen shot of it. This is a page that I will use to provide a catalogue of Catholic saints or future saints of African descent who have been a excellent example of Black holiness for the Church. Included will be a picture and link to further information about them along with some of my personal reflections on their lives and good examples of the Christian life. I will periodically add to this page with more Black saints/holy ones as I discuss them in the future on the blog.
This also is a good opportunity to formally introduce content for the article-series Black (And Catholic) Like Me on the website which will be the main feeder into the Black Saints page. As stated on the About This Site page, this article-series will feature a Black Catholic saint from history (or soon to be one) and tell a little about him/her and what I believe we can all learn from this godly one about holiness. For the title, I drew some inspiration from the title of journalist John Howard Griffin’s 1961 book “Black Like Me” even though I am not drawing from its content. I’ve always like the ring of its title, but along with that – I’m Black and I’m Catholic, and here are some great Catholic examples who were Black as well. Additionally, while canonized people and those on the way to being canonized will be the main focus, I may also include recent examples of Black Catholics (deceased and living) who are also good examples of “Catholicism through a colored lens.”
The big hope I have for both the Black Saints page and Black (And Catholic) Like Me is for other Black Catholics and Black non-Catholics to have faces of sanctity that look like them and access to the great stories of their lives to show that holiness is for you too. Often times when we think of Catholic saints in the West images of European faces might sprout first within our minds. While there is nothing wrong with saints who happened to be European (ALL saints have A LOT to teach us), it’s helpful to at least of some of us poor sinners who might need to see great examples of what it means to be a lively and faithful Catholic that looks “like me” to give them a little bit more encouragement to fight off the lie from the devil that holiness is not possible which can comes in many forms. I imagine that the father of lies might whisper in the ears of a little Black child, “See? None of the saints even look like you. How could you ever be one of them?” But when that same child sees Servant of God Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first recognized African American Catholic priest or Julia Greeley or St. Moses the Black and reads about their lives, then a light could go off, a holy fire could kindle up within the soul, and the Holy Spirit could help stoke the flames of another saint-in-the-making. This is important (especially for evangelization) in the U.S. because there are not that many African American Catholics, and they need to know that their Church is a Church for everyone because there are saints that look like everyone. And those outside the Church can be like, “There are Black saints too?”
As of today (Jan. 26, 2019) I have four saints in the catalogue from my celebration of Black Catholic History Month (November) last year when I did a social media version of Black (And Catholic) Like Me and featured these four for every week of the month. They are:
I pray that these works of mine might be an instrument in God’s hands to lead both Catholics and non-Catholics into the deep and varied life of the Church so that they might ultimately find a place as members of Christ’s one Mystical Body.