Wonder Wednesday: Be the Light, Be the Difference, Ignite Love - Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and we almost let it slip by, but that’s okay, because Black history is more important than just one month, and something we should all learn and stand for each and every day. Please join us in celebrating our fellow Black Catholic's with this great resource from Simply Catholic’s brief biography on and celebrating Black Catholics within the church. Let us take a moment to honor these brave men and women for sticking up for what is right even when they were persecuted. We also want to model after their courageous behaviors by standing up for what we believe in, to bring inclusion into the catholic schools! Let us continue to walk by faith in this journey together.

One highlight that EMBRACE wants to touch on is Servant of God - Mother Mary Lange. She was a brave and courageous sister who started a free school for African American children out of her home in Baltimore. She then went on to establish the first successful establishment of black sisters in the United States, called the Oblate Sisters of Providence. Sister Mary Lange had many obstacles to jump through with racial discrimination at the time. She overcame these with her love for the people. She then later died and is now being investigated into her holy life for sainthood.

Mother Mary Lange is a powerful intercessor for all educators. She exemplified perseverance, even when the times were tough to overcome. She became the light to those who needed it, and ignited love around her. Let us take her example and apply it to our own life!

Here is her full story from Simply Catholic:

Servant of God - Mother Mary Lange

Pioneer founded first U.S. order for black sisters

Not much is known about the first half of Mother Mary Lange’s life.

Born in Cuba, but possibly of Haitian background, Elizabeth Lange came to the United States shortly after the War of 1812, eventually making her way to Baltimore, where she settled. There, she ran a free school for African American children from her home. Sulpician Father James Joubert’s parish, in the same section of Baltimore, served a community of Black Catholics, many of whom were immigrants from the Caribbean. In catechizing the children, he noticed that many of them were unable to read or write — particularly girls. Recognizing this, he saw a need for a girls’ school and asked Lange and collaborators to run it. Moreover, he encouraged her to establish the Oblate Sisters of Providence — the first successful establishment of black sisters in the United States. She had to tackle a variety of hurdles to achieve this work, as Baltimore’s Archbishop William E. Lori recognized: “She had many, many obstacles — among them racial prejudice and hatred — and her love overcame that in her life.”

The Oblate Sisters of Providence broadened their mission from its origins in schools under the leadership of Mother Mary Lange, eventually serving in a variety of educational and social capacities, including helping young women develop careers and operating homes for widows and orphans. Lange died in Baltimore on Feb. 3, 1882. The formal investigation into her holy life was opened in 1991 by then-Archbishop (later Cardinal) William H. Keeler of Baltimore.

Mother Mary Lange, Servant of God, pray for us!

To continue to read about those who have impacted not only the Catholic Church, but history as a whole, please click here to read short biographies on others from Simply Catholic.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14.