Black Saints: Mother Mary Lange

Mother Mary Lange, the foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence
This article appears in the Black Saints feature series. View the full series.

Nov. 12 Mother Mary Lange

Did you know that the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore is the first and older religious congregation for women of color in the United States?

Haitian immigrant & educator, Mother Mary Lange, and three companions founded this order in 1829, when Maryland was still a slave state. Under great risk, these sisters dedicated themselves to serving orphans and educating black children. Also around that time, Mother Lange founded Baltimore’s historic St. Francis Academy. It continues to thrive today as a co-ed high school that educates mainly inner city African American and Hispanic youth. Mother Lange’s candidacy for sainthood began in 1990.

More about Black Catholic history

Blacks in Catholic Christianity have a long and vibrant history.

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

Much of that history is generally unknown to Black Catholics as well as to the rest of the faithful. On July 24, 1990, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month to celebrate this long history and proud heritage of Black Catholics. During this month we celebrate the presence of our ancestors who kept the faith and are models of living the Gospel life.

November is Black Catholic History Month, read more about it.

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