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.