Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, OSP Who among us today has the courage to "battle the odds," even in our own church, to do the work God calls us to? Elizabeth Lange is a noble role model for all the obstacles we face! Elizabeth Clarisse Lange was born about 1784 in Santiago, Cuba, in a Haitian community. Well educated, she left Cuba in the early 1800s and immigrated to the United States. By 1813, she had arrived in Baltimore where there was a large free Black population. She recognized the need for the education of their children and opened a school for them in her home. Lange became acquainted with Father James Nicholas Joubert, SS, a Sulpician priest who was attempting to teach catechism to the Black children in Baltimore. Finding them not able to read well, he approached Lange and Marie Balas, a woman living with Lange, who were already operating a school. He suggested that they should start a religious order for this work. Lange and Balas had already felt a call to religious life but did not know how to go about becoming religious since no order would accept women of color. But, with the help of Joubert and the approval of the Archbishop, the Oblate Sisters of Providence was established. Lange and the other women who joined her experienced poverty, racism, and many other hardships. However, they persevered and their work flourished. Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange died in 1882. She is, today, a candidate for sainthood. If Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange's story is new to you, perhaps you might consider reading her life story, Finger of God , by George A. A. Yorkman, Jr., 2019. Resources Learn about Mother Lange’s history and legacy in these two videos: Mary Elizabeth Lange Biographical Presentation Hidden Figuras: Mother Mary Lange Mother Lange's guild and her cause for canonization, including the video “In Her Words" - www.motherlange.org Information on Mother Lange from the Archdiocese of Baltimore Reflection Questions 1. Can you name some of today's “women of color" who have exhibited the courage and stamina of Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange? 2. What are the obstacles still present in "today's Church" that prevent people of color from full participation? Prayer O God, you gifted our American Church with the energy and enthusiasm of Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange. She had many battles to win to do your work. Help us, today, to add our efforts to make our Church a Church that welcomes all, and treasures the gifts of all. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.