Venerable Pierre Toussaint was born a slave in Haiti. Philanthropist & Founder of many Catholic charitable works, he is buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He is the first layperson to be buried there.
Mother Mary Lange was the foundress and first Superior General of the Oblate Sisters of Providence (1829-1832), the first congregation of African American women religious in the history of the Catholic Church. She is believed to be Cuban born of Haitian descent.
Fr. Augustus Tolton was the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black when he was ordained in 1886. A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, Tolton studied formally in Rome. He was ordained at St. John Lateran (Rome).
Julia Greeley was born into slavery, at Hannibal, Missouri, sometime between 1833 and 1848. Freed by Missouri's Emancipation Act in 1865, she joined the Secular Franciscan Order in 1901 and was active in it until her death in 1918. She is buried in Denver's Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA was born in 1937 and reared in Canton, Mississippi. During her short lifetime (52 years), she was dedicated to preparing priests and seminarians working in the African-American parishes and institutions in the USA.
Venerable Henriette Delille was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she lived all of her life. In 1842, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family. This was the second congregation of African-American women religious in the USA.