Black History Month 2024: Feb. 3 – Venerable Mother Lange, Co-Foundress of America’s First Order for Black Sisters

Black History Month 2024: Feb. 3 – Venerable Mother Lange, Co-Foundress of America’s First Order for Black Sisters

February 3, 2024 0 By BLACKCATHOLIC

Feb. 3rd is the 142nd anniversary of when Mother Mary Lange went to God. She help found the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the 1st Catholic order for Black sisters in US history. Black History was made last year when Lange was declared Venerable.

From my page on her life:

On July 2, 1829 Elizabeth and three other women professed vows and became the Oblate Sisters.

– Elizabeth Lange took the name “Mary” and began the congregation as the first superior general.

– The religious habit consisted of a black dress and cape, with a white cap. (Wiki)

Oblate Sisters’ Ministry to the Free Black Community

– “They started in a rented house with four sisters and twenty students.”

– The school they founded which became the St. Frances Academy, still operating in Baltimore today.

– Experienced poverty and racism (Wiki)

– Sought to evangelize the Black community through Catholic education” (Wiki)

“In addition to schools, the sisters later conducted night classes for women, vocational and career training, and established homes for widows and orphans.” (Wiki)

-“Slaves who had been purchased and then freed were educated and at times admitted into the congregation.” (OS)

– “By 1832, the community had grown to eleven members.” (Wiki)

Legacy of a True Mother of God’s Forgotten Children

– “She was superior general from 1829 to 1832, and from 1835 to 1841.” (OS)

– When a cholera outbreak hit Baltimore “the entire community volunteered to risk their lives in nursing the victims of this plague [but] only four were chosen, Lange herself and three companions.” (Wiki)

– In the mid-1840s she worked “as a domestic at St. Mary’s Seminary in the city to help support her community.” (Wiki)

– “In 1850 she was appointed to serve the congregation as Mistress of novices, a position in which she served for the next ten years.” (Wiki)

– “Mother Mary’s early life prepared her well for the turbulence that followed the death of Father Joubert in 1843. There was a sense of abandonment at the dwindling number of pupils and defections of her closest companions and co-workers.” (OS)

– She died February 3, 1882 at Saint Frances Convent in Baltimore, Maryland. (OS)

Oblate Sisters of Providence. I do not think Mother Lange is in this picture. Public Domain.