Exploring the Black Catholic Experience in America
Fr. Augustus Tolton
Ven. Julia Greeley
Ven. Pierre Toussaint
Sr. Thea Bowman
Sr. Josephine Bakhita
St. Martin De Porres
Mother Mary Lange
Mother Henriette DeLille
Welcome to the Black Catholic Experience! Explore our website to learn more about us!
The Black Catholic Experience is part of the long history of Christianity and includes the participation of people of African descent. When we study the Old Testament, we have a better understanding of the New Testament. When we learn about our ancestors, we have insight into who we are as people. When we hear the story of Black Catholics in particular, we gain a deeper appreciation for the religious history of African Americans in general. An excellent resource for examining the history and origins of Black Catholics can be found in the book, The History of Black Catholics in the United States by Cyprian Davis, a Benedictine monk and professor of church history at St. Meinrad School of Theology. Davis tells a story of a people who, while maligned by Black Protestants, were often not fully considered as part of the Roman Catholic Church.
In order to reconstruct the history, Davis turns to baptismal, marriage and death records to construct a more accurate portrayal of the Black Catholic experience. Davis does not neglect the early contributors to the Black Catholic faith and chronicles important participants and events through the 20th century. Below are some of the people, places and events that inform the Black Catholic Experience.