The local ABC-TV affiliate in Quincy, where Father Augustus Tolton grew up and is buried, reported April 14 that Vatican representatives were in the United States to investigate possible miracles related to the priest’s sainthood cause.
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.
Father Augustus Tolton, the first identified Black priest ordained for the United States, would likely be disappointed by what he sees going on in the United States today, said Father David Jones, pastor of St. Benedict the African Parish in Chicago.
A former runaway slave who grew up to become the first African-American Catholic priest is now one step closer to being the first black American saint.Pope Francis recognized the heroic virtue of Father Augustus Tolton and on June 12 declared him “venerable” within the Church. With that decree, Father Tolton is still two steps away from canonization, but Catholics can pray directly to the priest as an intercessor before God.