Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Black Catholic Saints? The Canonization of Another Saint to be Discussed on This is the Day
On Friday, July 3rd, Sister Magdala Marie Gilbert OSP will discuss the canonization of Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, who founded the first congregation of women religious of African descent. Will Mary Elizabeth Lange join the more familiar African saints such as St. Perpetua and St. Felicity? This topic will be up for discussion on the CatholicTV talk show “This is the Day.”
During the week of July 13th-19th, CatholicTV will air a documentary about Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, the religious order she founded, and the cause for her canonization. The documentary is entitled “Providence Will Provide”. Detailed times are listed below.
Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange was best known for starting the religious order - The Oblate Sisters of Providence. She moved from the Caribbean to Baltimore in 1813 (estimate) at about the age of 29. After arriving in the U.S. she used her own money and home to educate children of color. Providence intervened through the person of Reverend James Hector Joubert, S.S., who encouraged by Archbishop James Whitfield, presented Mary Elizabeth Lange with the challenge to found a religious congregation for the Christian (Catholic) education of Black children.
But, how was this to be? Black men and women could not, at that time, aspire to religious life. Nevertheless, On July 2, 1829, Mary Elizabeth and three other women pronounced promises of poverty, chastity, and obedience to Archbishop Whitfield and the chosen Superior. This year the community celebrates its 180th anniversary.
Through Mother Mary Lange and the Oblate Sisters of Providence, thousands upon thousands were educated and evangelized. In 1991, Elizabeth Lange was named a Servant of God by the Church.
Sr. Magdala Marie Gilbert, OSP will discuss the canonization of Mother Lange on “This is the Day”. Sr. Magdala Marie is an Oblate Sister of Providence. She is a member of the National Black Sisters Conference (NBSC). Sr. Magdala Marie taught many years on the Elementary School and High School levels. Sister has been Vocation and Formation Director for her Congregation as well. She has written a booklet about Mother Mary Lange, OSP called, “One Who Dared, Mary Lange: A Short Portrait.” She has written numerous articles for the Catholic Review, the Catholic newspaper for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
CatholicTV will air the documentary “Providence Will Provide” during the week of July 13th-19th at the following times (Eastern): Tuesday-12:30PM; Wednesday-6AM; Friday-9AM; Sunday-11:30PM.