Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 23 April |
Saint of the Day: St. George
home iconChurch
line break icon

Thea Bowman’s cause for canonization endorsed by U.S. Bishops

THEA BOWMAN

Fair Use

Philip Kosloski - published on 11/15/18

The bishops voted in favor of Bowman's cause, who was a granddaughter of a slave and advocate for African-Americans.

On the third day of the USCCB’s fall meeting in Baltimore, the bishops voted in favor of supporting the cause for canonization of Sr. Thea Bowman, a religious member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration based in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Their approval paves the way for a diocesesan commission to be set-up to further investigate her life and any evidence of extraordinary virtue. If the results of the commission are favorable, her cause will be sent to the Vatican where she could be declared “venerable.”

Thea Bowman was a trailblazer in the United States. She worked zealously as a teacher and made a profound impact on the African-American community that endures to this day. Her life is an inspiration to many and the diocese of Jackson, Mississippi is leading the way in investigating her life in a possible case for her canonization.

Bowman was born on December 29, 1937, in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Her grandfather was born a slave, and she was raised into the Methodist faith. After her family moved to Canton, Mississippi Bowman was enrolled in Holy Child Jesus school. While there Bowman was drawn to the Catholic faith and asked her parents if she could convert at age 9.

When she turned 15 Bowman moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin and joined the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA). She became the first African-American member of that order.

After attending Viterbo University, she pursued advanced studies at the Catholic Unviersity of America. She then spent 16 years teaching at all levels of education. After this career in education the bishop of Jackson, Mississippi, invited her to be a consultant in his diocese.

She accepted the new position and worked for many years breaking down barriers. According to the FSPA’s website, “In her role as consultant 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.”

Bowman made great strides in the United States, helping with the production of the first African-American Catholic hymnal and the foundation of the National Black Sisters Conference, supporting African-American religious sisters.

She said once, reflecting on her heritage and Catholic faith, “What does it mean to be black and Catholic? … It means that I bring myself, my black self. All that I am. All that I have. All that I hope to become. I bring my whole history, my traditions, my experience, my culture, my African-American song and dance and gesture and movement and teaching and preaching and healing and responsibility as gift to the church.”

During an interview Bowman said, “I think the difference between me and some people is that I’m content to do my little bit. 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.”

After struggling with breast cancer, Bowman died on March 30, 1990. She was revered as a holy woman during her lifetime and has inspired many since her death. On February 9, 2018, “Bishop Joseph Kopacz [of Jackson, Mississippi] has appointed Redemptorist Father Maurice Nutt to begin researching the life, writings and works of Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, in what may well be her first step on the road to sainthood.”




Read more:
This hairdresser slave is on the way to canonization




Read more:
Celebrating Black Catholic History Month: Meet Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange

Tags:
SaintsSaints of the United States
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
KIDS,WATERMELON,BEACH
Cerith Gardiner
New study shows that these 2 childhood habits make you a happier ...
2
EUCHARIST
Philip Kosloski
5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist
3
HEART OF JESUS
Bret Thoman, OFS
“Jesus, you take care of it”: Prayer of a priest Padr...
4
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
6
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
7
ANXIETY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for anxiety
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.