Equity and Inclusion


In response to the proposal from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that congregations focus on the dismantling of racism, the Adrian Dominican Sisters began by identifying resources that can assist us in raising our consciousness of white privilege and white supremacy, both personally and systematically.

From January 2021 through June of 2023, our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters collaborated on a project to provide information on prominent Black and Indigenous Catholics who have made significant contributions to the church and society, along with reflection questions and a prayer.

In May of 2022, Kevin D. Hofmann was named the founding Director of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion for the Congregation. With the goal of normalizing conversations about race and culture and discussing what it means to feel included and excluded, Kevin began contributing to this blog in June of 2022. He shares his unique experience of growing up Black in a white family in Detroit and educates on topics of equity and inclusion.

Equity and Inclusion Project

rss

Click here to return to the latest update


Venerable Augustus Tolton (1854-1897)

Augustus Tolton was the first recognized Black Catholic priest in the United States. He was born in Brush Creek, Missouri, where he began his life “not as a human being, but as someone’s personal property, i.e. as slave of a white Catholic family.” Like many slaves, his mother was baptized because her owners were of the Catholic faith. She raised her son in her Catholic faith.

In 1862 the Tolton family escaped slavery by crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois. They settled in Quincy, Illinois, where Augustus attended St. Peter’s all-white Catholic School. Even though racial conflict haunted Tolton most of his life, he remained devoted to God and the Catholic Church. He felt called to the priesthood; however, because of racism he was not accepted into a seminary in the United States and so he went to Rome and was ordained in 1886.

The Pope returned him to the United States to serve the black community in Quincy, Illinois, and eventually he became a pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church and school.  Racial tensions in Quincy led to his reassignment to Chicago, where he started St. Monica’s Catholic parish. Father Tolton’s success at ministering to Black Catholics quickly earned him national attention.  

This holy man of God was treated as a commodity – i.e., he was bought and sold. Despite this, because he was gifted by God, he became an accomplished musician, mastered five languages, and through his dedication as pastor and eloquent preacher, brought many to the Catholic faith.  

Augustus Tolton embodied our Adrian Dominican charism of contemplative prayer and action as a fruit of contemplation.  

 

Resources

Biographical Information

Biography of Father Tolton - Father Tolton Catholic High School in Columbia, Missouri

On the Road to Sainthood: Leaders of African Descent - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Father Augustus Tolton (1854-1897) - PDF by the Archdiocese of Chicago

Website on Tolton and steps towards canonization by the Archdiocese of Chicago

Black Catholic History

Timeline of U.S. Black Catholic History - National Black Catholic Congress

Black Catholic History - Seattle University's Campus Ministry

Video on the people of African decent on the path to sainthood - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

 

Reflection Questions

1) When did you first become conscious of your racial identity?

2) When did you first identify the "other" as colored, Negro, Black, African-American, Latino, Hispanic, Asian, or white?

3) What contributions have Blacks and Black Catholics made to the society, culture and church that have benefitted all Catholics worldwide?

 

Prayer

God our Father and Mother, we pray together in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Ever present God, you called us to be in relationship with one another and promised to dwell wherever two or three are gathered. In our community, we are many different people; we come from many different places, have many different cultures. Open our hearts that we may be bold in finding the riches of inclusion and the treasures of diversity among us. We pray in faith.*

Glory be to our Father-Mother God and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

Amen!

 

*Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the Jericho Road Homily

 


portrait image of Henriette Delille against a black and white photograph of Black sisters in habit

Venerable Henriette DeLille, servant of slaves, pray for us!

At a time when chattel slavery objectified and brutalized Black women’s bodies, and Christianity and the Catholic Church were deeply entwined with the system of slavery, Henriette DeLille laid the foundation for a religious congregation of Black women asserting the “sacred meaning and value” of their bodies and lives. 

The Adrian Dominican Sisters join our Sisters of the Holy Family in celebrating the 158th anniversary today of their remarkable foundress, the Venerable Henriette DeLille, and in supporting her elevation to sainthood. 

Learn more about this amazing woman and her cause for sainthood:

Friends of the Venerable Henriette DeLille - https://henriettedelille.com/canonization-process

See also Dr. M. Shawn Copeland’s “The Subversive Power of Love” (Paulist Press, 2009)

 


Subscribe to receive these blog posts directly to your email inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time and we do not use your information for any other purpose.

  • Equity and Inclusion Blog

Search Equity and Inclusion Blog

Recent Posts

  • Will We Speak Up? Posted 8 months ago
    I recently watched a video of a college lecture. The students were listening intently to the professor and in mid-sentence the professor stopped and singled out one female student. He spoke directly to her ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Dr. C. Vanessa White Posted 9 months ago
    Black Catholic Project: Dr. C. Vanessa White Dr. C. Vanessa White comes from a family of ministers of various faith traditions. She has known from a young age that she was being called by God ...
  • Woman We Should Know Posted 9 months ago
    by Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion In honor of pride month, I wanted to lift up women in the LGBTQ+ community and highlight their activitism. Three activists and trail-blazers you ...
  • The History and Significance of Pride Month Posted 9 months ago
    by Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion Pride Month, observed every June, is a vibrant and significant time for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies worldwide. It is a time ...
  • Curiosity Makes Better Friends Posted 10 months ago
    The new family was moving in and the neighborhood was buzzing. They were moving into the house on the corner of Outer Drive and Byrne in our Northwest Detroit neighborhood. Most of the neighbors ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Bishop Edward K. Braxton Posted 10 months ago
    Black Catholic Project: Bishop Edward K. Braxton Bishop Edward Braxton was born on June 28, 1944, in Chicago, the third of five children of Mr. and Mrs. Cullen Braxton. After elementary school, Edward attended Quigley ...
  • Our Diverse Cultures Make us Stronger Posted 10 months ago
    May is National Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and honor the rich and diverse history and cultures, as well as the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders ...
  • May: Indian Heritage Month Posted 10 months ago
    May is Indian Heritage Month, a time to reflect on the rich and diverse cultures of the indigenous peoples of North America. However, it is also a time to acknowledge the atrocities that Native ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Toni Morrison (1931-2019) Posted 11 months ago
    Black Catholic Project: Toni Morrison (1931-2019) Our Black Catholic of interest this month is Toni Morrison. She is one of the great American authors whose novels are overflowing with spiritual overtones and an exploration into ...
  • Planting Seeds In Good Soil Posted 11 months ago
    by Kevin Hofmann Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion   April is Celebrate Diversity Month as well as Earth month! When I heard this is the month to celebrate diversity, I envision people ...
Read More »

People of African Descent on the Path to Sainthood

Printable bookmark of African Americans on their Way to Sainthood (PDF)

U.S. Black Catholic History Links

Black Catholic History page by Seattle University

Timeline from the National Black Catholic Congress

Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series

News report on one of the oldest Black Catholic parishes in the U.S., St. Elizabeth Catholic Church (formerly St. Monica) in Chicago, Illinois