On a day when history was made 60 years earlier with the March on Washington, Father Robert Boxie III, the Catholic chaplain at Howard University in the nation’s capital, noted that the campus ministry program there was making history of its own, with the blessing and dedication of its new Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Student Center.
African American Catholics plan to visit the Vatican in November to promote the cause for Mother Mary Lange, one of six African American Catholics who are candidates for sainthood.
Recognizing that she lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way, Pope Francis has declared venerable Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, founder of the first Catholic order of African American nuns.
Many are remembering how Harry Belafonte, who died April 25 in New York at age 96, was so inspired by the life ministry of Sister Thea Bowman that he had planned to make a film about her.
There are six African-Americans currently on the path to sainthood in the Catholic Church, and 18-year-old Jaden Ellis is excited by the prospect of their canonization.
Officials at The Catholic University of America dedicated and blessed a campus street April 29 named in honor of the late Sister Thea Bowman, a noted educator and evangelist who studied at Catholic University and whose cause for canonization was opened in 2018.
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.
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.
Pointing to the late Sister Thea Bowman as an “icon of hope,” the bishops of both Mississippi dioceses have pledged to “liberate the Church from the evil of racism that severely compromises our mission.”