"Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child"

Black American women on the road to sainthood

Join us for a morning of contemplation and education as we explore the lives and spirituality of the four African American women who are presently being considered for canonization as saints of the Catholic Church.

Henriette Delille (1812-1862), the first U.S. born African American whose cause for canonization was opened by the Church. She was the daughter of a white man and a mixed-race woman who lived in a common-law relationship and the founder of Sisters of the Holy Family. Others of African descent being considered for canonization are Mary Elizabeth Lange (ca. 1794-1882), founder of the Oblate Sister of Providence in Baltimore; Julia Greely, who was born a slave in Hannibal, Missouri between 1833 and 1848 and was freed in 1863; and Thea Bowman (1937-1990), a Franciscan of Perpetual Adoration, one of the best educated of the Black American sainthood candidates.

A summary of each of their life stories will be presented, their respective works and charisma, and highlights of their spirituality, focusing on contemplative perspectives applicable to our present lives.

Music intervals will provide further times for reflection.

This brief presentation will further enhance our knowledge of African American Catholics throughout different historical periods and circumstances, and deepen out own understandings of the gift of God’s grace on all of us.

This program is being offered free of charge. 

We invite you to contribute what you can so that we can continue to provide these opportunities.

To register for this event, fill out the form below or visit eventbrite.

(Zoom information will be sent to registered attendees closer to the event date.)

Presenter: Oliva M. Espín

Oliva M. Espín, PhD, is Professor Emerita in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University and the California School of Professional Psychology of Alliant International University. Dr. Espín was a pioneer in the practice and theory of feminist psychology and psychotherapy with women from different cultural backgrounds, for which she has received multiple awards from the American Psychological Association, the Association for Women in Psychology and other professional organizations. A native of Cuba, she received her BA in Psychology from the University of Costa Rica and her PhD from the University of Florida. She did post-doctoral work at Harvard University with a fellowship from NIMH, studying Latina healers. Dr. Espín held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Gender Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria.

Throughout her career, she has taught psychology of women, the psychology of immigrants and refugees, women saints, and other topics. She has presented at national and international conferences and published many articles and books on psychology and psychotherapy of Latinas, women immigrant and refugees, women’s sexuality, language in therapy with fluent bilinguals, historical memory and memoir, feminist and psychological understandings of the lives and writings of women saints. She recently published Gendered Journeys: Women, Migration, and Feminist Psychology (2015). Her most recent books are Women, Sainthood, and Power: A Feminist Psychology of Cultural Constructions (2019) and My Native Land is Memory: Stories of a Cuban Childhood (2020), which won the 2021 San Diego Book Award.