Msgr. Quinn (1888-1940), who was an Irish-American, was known for his fight against racial injustice. He established the first parish for Black Catholics in the diocese, St. Peter Claver Church, Bedford-Stuyvesant, in 1922.
When it comes to the earliest orders of Black Catholic religious sisters in the United States, Shannen Dee Williams wants people to recognize the perseverance, struggle, and commitment to God they put forth to make religious life possible for Black women and girls in the United States — something she considers overlooked.
She is known as “Denver’s Angel of Charity” and she might just become the first African American saint in the Catholic Church.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, stating that the celebration helped to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman said in 2011: “You’re going to relegate my history to a month? … I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”
Deacon Art Miller, a cradle Catholic whose grandparents moved from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the South Side of Chicago, grew up in a segregated society during the 1950s.
The year was 1917. America had just entered World War I. It was also a somber time in church history — black Catholics were not welcomed to worship within the same space as their white Catholic brothers and sisters.
The number of American Saints is small, but the number of black American saints is even smaller. A group of faithful is looking to change that.
When Sister Charlene Smith first learned of Sister Thea Bowman’s cause for canonization, she was “pleased” but not “surprised.” She said Sister Thea was “a lot like Jesus” because of her “magnetic” personality.
The global protests over the long-standing plague of white supremacy, most recently manifested in the police and vigilante murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, have put our nation and church on the precipice of monumental change or devastating setback.