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.

Since January 2021, our Toward Communion: Undoing Racism and Embracing Diversity Committee and our Justice Promoters have 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 and shares his unique experience of growing up Black in a white family in Detroit.

 

Equity and Inclusion Project

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Servant of God Julia Greeley

Julia Greeley Servant of God

Servant of God Julia Greeley

Julia Greeley was born into slavery on a Missouri farm sometime in the 1840s. As a slave, she was physically abused and became permanently lame. She lost an eye in a beating given to her mother.

After the Emancipation Proclamation, Julia was brought to Colorado by a wealthy woman, a Mrs. Dickerson, who later married William Gilpin, the first territorial governor of Colorado. Mrs. Dickerson was a Catholic and influenced both her husband and Julia herself to become baptized. Julia worked for the Dickerson family as a housekeeper and nanny.

In addition to her job with the governor's family, Julia was a familiar sight on Denver’s streets. She wore a floppy black hat and pulled a little red wagon, filled with food, clothing, and firewood for those in need. She used her weekly salary to buy these items, and when she ran short, she begged for items for her wagon. Julia was dedicated to the poor and had a special love for firefighters.

Julia was known for her Catholic Faith, and attended daily Mass at her parish, Sacred Heart Church. She had a deep love and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Therefore, it was fitting tribute that she died on June 7, 1918, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And it was in Sacred Heart Church, her parish, that her funeral was held which attracted large crowds of mourners. Julia Greely was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

After her death in 1918, Frances Wayne, a Denver Post reporter wrote, that her legacy included “eighty-five years of worthy living ... unselfish devotion ... and a habit of giving and sharing herself and her goods.”  In late 2016, her heroic life was officially recognized by the Catholic Church, which began the canonization process to declare Julia a saint. Her body has been moved to the Denver Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Today her official name is Servant of God Julia Greeley.

 

Resources

Biographical Information

Learn more about Julia Greeley and see a short video about her at www.JuliaGreeley.org 

Black Catholic History

Black Catholics in the American Catholic Church
Sister Jamie T. Phelps, OP, discusses Black Catholics in America with Dr. Paul Lakeland for Fairfield University's "Voices of Others" video series: https://youtu.be/nTiNC7j-mZQ 

African-American Catholicism and St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, Chicago, Illinois
Ninety years ago, St. Monica’s Catholic Church, the precursor of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, was the first Black Catholic Parish in the United States. Learn more in this news broadcast: https://youtu.be/hzr9L9KOBzo


Reflection Questions

1) How many more “people of color” who lived lives of holiness are hidden from our history?

2) How can these stories be “uncovered” and made known to today's Catholics?

3) Are you aware of how the rigid lines of separation and discrimination continue to maintain white supremacy in our society?

 

Prayer

This prayer was approved on June 29, 2017, by Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver for private use:

Heavenly Father, your servant Julia Greeley dedicated her life to honoring the Sacred Heart of your Son and to the humble service of the poor. 

Grant to me a generous heart like your Son’s, and if it be in accordance with your holy will, please grant this favor I now ask through Julia’s intercession (insert intention)… 

I pray this through Christ our Lord. 

Amen.
 

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Avatar  Timothy Mouton last yearReply

I have said the prayer to Servant of God Julia Greely for her miraculous intercession for the complete recovery of my brother Andre Mouton’s sight. He has injured his eyes from using an ultraviolet light. Please join myself and all children of God for the beatification of Servant of God Julia Greeley that more people will learn of her heroic virtues and Glorify God because of her life



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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