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Recognizing Black History Month: Thea Bowman

Black and white photo of African American saint, Sister Thea Bowman

In honor of Black History Month, each week in February, we will share the story of an African-American Saint. This week, we introduce you to Thea Bowman (left).

Thea Bowman grew up in the South during the Civil Rights Era. As a young woman, she joined the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Gifted with a brilliant mind, beautiful voice, and a dynamic personality, Sister Thea shared the message of God’s love through a career of teaching, preaching and civil rights activism. After 16 years as an educator, the Bishop of Jackson, MS, appointed her to a role as diocesan consultant for intercultural awareness. 

In this role, Sister Thea gave presentations across the country; lively gatherings that combined singing, gospel preaching, prayer and storytelling. Her programs were directed to break down racial and cultural barriers. She encouraged people to communicate with one another so that they could understand other cultures and races. In her later years, she returned home and became one of the founding faculty members of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans.

She is currently designated as a “Servant of God”, the first step in the process of becoming an officially recognized Saint in the Global Catholic Church.

Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change. But if each one would light a candle we’d have a tremendous light.

Sister Thea Bowman

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