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Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton 1854-1897)
After escaping slavery with his family, Augustus headed to Illinois with his mother and siblings. There he had a desire to join the priesthood after meeting Fr. Peter McGirr. He faced much rejection, but eventually became the first Black Catholic priest in the US. Assigned to Chicago, he developed and led a “Negro national parish,” St. Monica’s Catholic Church, which saw its parish membership grow from 30 to 600.

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