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Thread started 06/15/08 11:18am

ehuffnsd

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Sisters of the Holy Family. America's First Order of African American Religious Sisters

Mother Henriette Delille was born in Louisiana in 1812 to parentage who were born in the French Louisiana Territory, which made them native born French Creoles. Her father, Jean Baptiste (de Lille) Lille (Sarpi) Sarpy (French/Italian) was born in 1762 in Fumel, Lot-et-Garonne, France and her mother, Marie-Josephe Diaz, of French, Spanish and African ancestry, a French Creole, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her grandparents were John Joseph Diaz, a Spanish wealthy merchant, and Henriette Dubreuil Laveau, French Creole. Her great grandparents were Jean Sarpi and Cecile Marthe Basile Dubreuil, whose father was Claude Villars Dubreuil born in 1716, from France. (See 2 copies of Genealogy of Mother Delille) also (See Pages copied from the book, “No Cross, No Crown” written by Sr. Detiege and Dr. Charles Nolan, which outlines Mother Delille’s Creole ancestry and who were permitted to join the Order in the years 1842 - l865).

Trained by her mother in French literature, music, dancing, and nursing, Henriette was groomed to take her place in the placage system as the common law wife of a wealthy white man. As a young woman, under the watchful eye of her mother, she attended many quadroon balls.

She was drawn to a strong religious belief in the teaching of the Catholic church, however, and resisted the life her mother suggested. She became an outspoken opponent of the system of placage, on the grounds that it represented a violation of the Catholic sacrament of marriage.

In 1827, at the age of 14, the well educated Henriette began teaching at the local Catholic school. Over the next several years, her devotion to caring for and education of the poor grew, causing conflict with her mother.

The Sisters of the Holy Family
mily
Founded in 1837
In 1835, her mother suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of this conflict. Later that year, the court declared her incompetent, and granted Henriette control of her assets. After providing for her mother's care, Henriette sold all her remaining property, and in 1836 used the proceeds to found a small unrecognized order of nuns, the Sisters of the Presentation. The original members consisted of Henriette, seven young Creole women, and a young French woman.

Her brother, Jean DeLille, was strongly opposed to her activities. He, like other members of their family, was light skinned enough to pass for white, and his sister's actions within the Creole community exposed his heritage. Embittered and estranged from her, he took his family and moved away from New Orleans.

In 1837, Father Etienne Rousselon secured formal recognition of the new order from the Vatican. In 1842, the order changed its name to the Sisters of the Holy Family.

Henriette DeLille continued a life of service to the poor of New Orleans. She died in 1862. Friends attributed her death to a life of service, poverty, and hard work.

At the time of her death, there were 12 members of the order.

By 1909, it had grown to 150 members, and operated parochial schools in New Orleans that served 1,300 students.

By 1950, membership peaked at 400.

The order today
The Sisters of the Holy Family remain active today, with over 200 members who serve the poor by operating free schools for children, nursing homes, and retirement homes in New Orleans, Shreveport, Louisiana, Washington, D.C, Galveston, Texas, Little Rock, Arkansas, California, and the Central American country of Belize.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 appears to have shut down the New Orleans operations of the order, and members formerly based in New Orleans are serving in other areas of the country.

http://www.cmswr.org/memb...es/SHF.htm
You CANNOT use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate- Madonna
authentic power is service- Pope Francis
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Reply #1 posted 06/15/08 1:18pm

luv4u

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Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed it. cool
Edmonton, AB - canada

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Reply #2 posted 06/15/08 1:33pm

ehuffnsd

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You CANNOT use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate- Madonna
authentic power is service- Pope Francis
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Reply #3 posted 06/15/08 2:17pm

Dance

I'm sure they had a LOT of FUN.
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Reply #4 posted 06/15/08 2:22pm

morningsong

ehuffnsd said:



Interesting stuff. I've seen this picture somewhere. But who was Mother Mary Lange, then?
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Reply #5 posted 06/15/08 3:33pm

ehuffnsd

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morningsong said:

ehuffnsd said:



Interesting stuff. I've seen this picture somewhere. But who was Mother Mary Lange, then?

hhhhmmmmm i had to look that up. occording to the site i was on the Sisters of the Holy Family were teh first upon research it turns out they were mistatken

The early years of Mother Mary Lange, the foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, have been delineated more by oral tradition than by anything else. She was born Elizabeth Lange in the early 1780s, a native of the Caribbean where havoc was constantly being created by both weather and the will of man. Her country of birth is not documented but oral tradition says she was born in Haiti and moved with her family to Santiago, Cuba or that she was born in Cuba to Haitian immigrant parents. She received an excellent education and in the early 1800s Elizabeth left Cuba and settled in the United States. By 1813, Providence directed her to Baltimore, Maryland where a large community of French speaking Catholics from Haiti was established. Elizabeth came to Baltimore as a courageous, loving, and deeply spiritual woman. She was a strong, independent thinker and doer. As a well educated immigrant, it did not take Lange long to recognize that the children of her fellow immigrants needed an education. There was no free public education for African American children in Maryland until 1868. She responded to that need by opening a school in her home in the Fells Point area of the city for the children. She and her friend, Marie Magdaleine Balas (later Sister Frances, OSP operated the school for over ten years.



Providence intervened through the person of Reverend James Hector Joubert, SS, who was encouraged by James Whitfield, Archbishop of Baltimore, and presented Elizabeth Lange with the idea to found a religious congregation for the education of African American girls. Father Joubert would provide direction, solicit financial assistance, and encourage other "women of colour" to become members of this, the first congregation of African American women religious in the history of the Catholic Church. Elizabeth joyfully accepted Father Joubert's idea. She needed no longer keep locked up the deepest desire of her heart. For years she felt God's call to consecrate herself and her works entirely to Him. How was this to be? At the time black men and women could not aspire to religious life. But now God was providing a way! On July 2, 1829 Elizabeth and three other women professed their vows and became the Oblate Sisters of Providence.



Elizabeth, foundress and first superior general of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, took the religious name of Mary. She was superior general from 1829 to 1832, and from 1835 to 1841. This congregation would educate and evangelize African Americans. Yet they would always be open to meeting the needs of the times. Thus the Oblate Sisters educated youth and provided a home for orphans. Slaves who had been purchased and then freed were educated and at times admitted into the congregation. They nursed the terminally ill during the cholera epidemic of 1832, sheltered the elderly, and even served as domestics at Saint Mary's Seminary.



Mother Mary's early life prepared her well for the turbulence that followed the death of Father Joubert in 1843. There was a sense of abandonment at the dwindling number of pupils and defections of her closest companions and co-workers. Yet through it all Mother Lange never lost faith in Providence. Mother Mary Lange practiced faith to an extraordinary degree. In fact, it was her deep faith which enabled her to persevere against all odds. To her black brothers and sisters she gave herself and her material prossessions until she was empty of all but Jesus, whom she shared generously with all by witnessing to His teaching. In close union with Him, she lived through disappointment and opposition until God called her home, February 3, 1882 at Saint Frances Convent in Baltimore, Maryland.

http://www.oblatesisters....Lange.html


[Edited 6/15/08 15:43pm]
You CANNOT use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate- Madonna
authentic power is service- Pope Francis
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Reply #6 posted 06/15/08 3:43pm

sosgemini

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i thought this was going to be about your "sisters". lol
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Reply #7 posted 06/15/08 3:45pm

ehuffnsd

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sosgemini said:

i thought this was going to be about your "sisters". lol

no... i love nuns!!!

my great aunt lives here

http://www.clydemonastery.org/index.php
You CANNOT use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate- Madonna
authentic power is service- Pope Francis
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Reply #8 posted 06/15/08 3:46pm

abierman

Huff, were these sisters really sisters or were they them other 'sisters'??

wink
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Reply #9 posted 06/15/08 3:49pm

ehuffnsd

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abierman said:

Huff, were these sisters really sisters or were they them other 'sisters'??

wink

???
You CANNOT use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate- Madonna
authentic power is service- Pope Francis
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Reply #10 posted 06/15/08 4:07pm

sosgemini

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ehuffnsd said:

sosgemini said:

i thought this was going to be about your "sisters". lol

no... i love nuns!!!

my great aunt lives here

http://www.clydemonastery.org/index.php


I kinda have a nun phobia...seriously!
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Reply #11 posted 06/15/08 4:26pm

ehuffnsd

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sosgemini said:

ehuffnsd said:


no... i love nuns!!!

my great aunt lives here

http://www.clydemonastery.org/index.php


I kinda have a nun phobia...seriously!

understandable... i won't hold it against ya.
You CANNOT use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate- Madonna
authentic power is service- Pope Francis
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Reply #12 posted 06/15/08 5:09pm

abierman

ehuffnsd said:

abierman said:

Huff, were these sisters really sisters or were they them other 'sisters'??

wink

???



lol I just thought like sosgemini! wink
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Reply #13 posted 06/15/08 6:43pm

babynoz

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Fascinating reading, thanks for posting.
"Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men"....Demosthenes
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Reply #14 posted 06/15/08 7:11pm

ehuffnsd

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abierman said:

ehuffnsd said:


???



lol I just thought like sosgemini! wink

we're nuns too. just a different type.
You CANNOT use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate- Madonna
authentic power is service- Pope Francis
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Forums > Politics & Religion > Sisters of the Holy Family. America's First Order of African American Religious Sisters