In Catholic books, an African American perspective is usually missing; these two books attempt to address that important gap in different and complementary ways.
In 1956, 17-year-old Sister Cora Marie Billings of Philadelphia entered the Sisters of Mercy in Merion, Pennsylvania, becoming the first Black member of the Philadelphia community.
Sandra Williams Ortega was stunned to see two high-ranking ROTC leaders standing on her front porch as she was coming home from classes at Morgan State College in Baltimore.
On a wintry January day at the old St. Theresa Cemetery in rural Meade County in Kentucky, Janice Mulligan laid a simple wreath of magnolia leaves on the grave of Matilda Hurd, a woman who died a slave and whose grandson is now a saint in the making.
The history of Black Catholics and other marginalized people in the U.S. church covering more than two centuries is one worth knowing and can guide the church’s response to the challenges of racism and social justice, historian Shannen Dee Williams believes.
Imagining what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., might say if he were alive today, retired Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, delivered a homily in the voice of the slain civil rights leader to address how racism continues to impact the church and society as a whole.
When Michaela Ivory was a freshman at Butler University, she wasn’t particularly interested in pledging to a sorority. But after meeting members of the Sigma Gamma Rho community and seeing the care and concern they had for others, she changed her mind and joined the sorority, which is one of the legendary Divine Nine.
A mystery persists at Salve Regina Catholic Academy, part of St. Michael-St. Malachy Parish. There, a few years ago, a student challenged the pastor with a decidedly pointed question.
The Mass was organized by a national campaign made up of members of three Baltimore parishes, St. Ann, St. Francis Xavier and St. Wenceslaus, as well as longtime members of St. Ann’s social justice committee. The purpose was to create awareness and educate the American people about the stories of these six candidates for sainthood.
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.