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

rss

Click here to return to the latest update


Sister Mary Antona Ebo, FSM (1924-2017)

Sister Mary Antona Ebo, FSM

Sister Mary Antona Ebo, FSM (1924-2017)

Photo above courtesy of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary

According to an online article from St. Louis University, Sister Marie Antona Ebo cringed as she watched television coverage of Alabama state troopers and police beating voting-rights demonstrators in Selma in March of 1965. When Sister Antona’s superior asked her if she wanted to join an interfaith group traveling to Selma for a second march, Sister Antona said it was time for her to "put up or shut up," so she went.

She was the only African-American woman religious in the group of 48 priests, rabbis, Protestant clergy, and six Catholic nuns. When her group gathered at a church in Selma, Sister Antona was thrust to the front of the march and in front of a bank of microphones.

She spoke words that were heard worldwide: "I am here because I am a Negro, a nun, a Catholic and because I want to bear witness." Those words marked the beginning of Sister Antona’s career as a civil rights advocate.

Her presence, along with that of other sisters, was deeply encouraging to the marchers. Andrew Young, a civil-rights leader who would one day be famous in public service, told the marchers upon the sisters' arrival at the staging spot of Brown A.M.E. Chapel, in Selma, "Ladies and gentlemen, one of the great moral forces of the world has just walked in the door."

One highlight of the event for her was at Brown Chapel when a young black girl ran up and embraced her. "She said she knew sisters, but never had seen one like herself." That was blessing enough for Sister Antona: "There are times when you know God is in charge."

Sister Antona helped found and served as President of the National Black Sisters Conference and was featured in the 2007 PBS documentary “Sisters of Selma.”

In a 2011 interview with Catholic News Service about the new memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C., she said she hoped the 30-foot likeness of the civil rights leader would prompt soul-searching.

"If we have to keep talking about keeping the dream alive, then what have we been doing for it still to be a dream?" she said. "Martin was our dreamer; his dream was for his time. Who are our dreamers today? You have to search kind of hard to find people with new dreams appropriate for our time."

Sister Antona was among the first representatives of the church to go to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, in support of its protesting citizens following the murder of Michael Brown Jr., in 2014.

Sister Antona passed to her eternal reward on Nov. 11, 2017.

Portrait of Sister Mary Antona Ebo painted by Nevah Nesbit, age 14

Sister Marie Antona Ebo, FSM
Painting by Nevah Nesbit, Age 14 
Part of the 2020 Black Catholic Heroes Project
Images of Black Catholics painted by students employed by the 
College for Creative Studies’ Detroit Neighborhood Arts Corps

(used with permission)

 

Resources

America Magazine, 2017, "Sister Antona Ebo’s lifelong struggle against white supremacy, inside and outside the Catholic Church," by Shannen Dee Williams.

NCR, Global Sisters Report, Nov. 2017, "Franciscan Sr. Mary Antona Ebo, civil rights leader, dies at 93," by Catholic News Service.

St. Louis University, 2017 - "Antona Ebo, F.S.M.: 1924-2017."

St. Anthony Messenger, May 2020, "Antona Ebo, FSM: Brave Sister of Selma" by John Feister.

YouTube video - News Channel 5 KSDK segment "Sisters of Selma," posted January 8, 2014.


Reflection Questions

If you were participating in a Black Lives Matter march and were "thrust in front of a bank of microphones," what would you say if asked, "Why are you here?"


Prayer

A Non-Traditional Blessing

May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.

May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.

If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then God will also bless you with:

     - happiness—because you will know that you have made life better for others

     - inner peace—because you will have worked to secure an outer peace for others

     - laughter—because your heart will be light

     - faithful friends—because they will recognize your worth as a person.

These blessings are yours—not for the asking, but for the giving—from One who wants to be your companion, our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

Written in 1985 by Sister Ruth Fox, OSB - http://sacredheartmonastery.com/our-community/meet-the-sisters

your Comment will be showing after administrator's approval







b i u quote


Save Comment
Showing 1 Comment
Avatar  Joan Baustian, O.P. 11 months agoReply

Answer I am here to once again oppose racism in all forms of racist repression and to acknowledge my own complicity in the past.



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

  • Christmas from a Different Angle Posted 2 days ago
    Photo: St. Anthony Padua Parish Church in the Philippines decorated for Simbang Gabi, by Patpat nava, CC BY-SA 4.0.   Christmas from a Different Angle By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion As ...
  • Better Than Turkey Posted last week
    Better Than Turkey By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion The last weekend in November was a tense time for my family growing up. My father was raised in Cleveland and ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Respond to Our Survey Posted last week
    Black Catholic Project: Respond to Our Survey 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 ...
  • Giving Thanks Posted 2 weeks ago
    Giving Thanks By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion Yesterday while watching the Detroit Lion’s third victory in a row, I began prep work for Thursday’s guest of honor. My responsibilities are ...
  • Black Catholic Project: Kobe Bryant (1978-2020) Posted 3 weeks ago
    Black Catholic Project: Kobe Bryant (1978-2020) Seen as a legend and hero in the sports world, Kobe Bryant is not projected as the devout Catholic that he was. His great success, through discipline and hard ...
  • Ghost Supper Posted 3 weeks ago
    Ghost Supper By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion My grandmother was an amazing German immigrant. She was raised in Bad Herenalb, Germany, and came to settle in a German neighborhood ...
  • Whose Life Matters? Posted last month
    Whose Life Matters? By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion We sat in a circle in the lobby of a dorm hall. About 15 of us were new to Alma College’s ...
  • Proceed With Caution Posted last month
    Proceed With Caution By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion Once a year at my predominately white college, one of the fraternities held a party that they called the “Back to ...
  • Sister Jamie Phelps, OP, A Story of Faith Posted last month
    Black Catholic Project: Sister Jamie Phelps, OP, A Story of Faith Sister Jamie Phelps, OP, is the pioneer African American woman who felt a deep call to join the Adrian Dominican Sisters — an all-white Catholic ...
  • Sir Doug: The Willing Posted last month
    Sir Doug: The Willing By Kevin Hofmann  Director of the Office of Racial Equity and Cultural Inclusion When I worked at Nationwide Insurance, I had a co-worker who became a good friend. His name was Doug and ...
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