Mother Elizabeth Lange
Mother Elizabeth Lange, was a pioneering figure in the Catholic Church and the founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first religious congregation for women of African descent. She was born circa 1784 in Cuba and later moved to the United States. She was well educated and it is believed that she came from a family of some means and social standing.
Mother Lange dedicated her life to serving marginalized communities, especially African American children and orphans. In 1828, she and three other women established the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore, Maryland, with a mission to provide education and care for African American children. The congregation faced numerous challenges, including racial discrimination, but Mother Lange's dedication and faith helped it grow and thrive.
As we celebrate Black Catholic History, let us reflect on ways we can honor and emulate the good works of Mother Elizabeth Lange. Mother Lange's life was characterized by selfless service to those in need, especially the marginalized and underserved. We can follow her example by actively seeking opportunities to serve others, particularly those who are disadvantaged or facing discrimination.
Mother Lange was passionate about education and worked to provide quality education to African American children. We can imitate her example by supporting educational initiatives, volunteering in schools, or actively participating in programs that promote education for all.
Mother Lange faced numerous challenges and obstacles in her mission, including racial prejudice and financial difficulties. May we have her courage to stand up for justice and persevere in the face of adversity. Mother Lange's life was deeply rooted in her faith. Let us nurture our spiritual lives through prayer, attending Mass, and actively participating in the sacraments.
Mother Lange's congregation was a response to the need for a religious community for women of African descent. She advocated for the rights and dignity of African Americans in a time of slavery and racial discrimination. Catholics can emulate her by engaging in social justice issues, speaking out against injustice, and working towards a more just and equitable society. Also, let us actively work towards a more inclusive and diverse Church community, where all are welcomed and valued.
In 1991, with the approval of the Holy See, Cardinal William Henry Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, officially opened a formal investigation of Lange's life to study it for her possible canonization and was titled "Servant of God.” In 2023, the Vatican approved the positio (the documentation of Lange's life), a key step in the process towards being declared "Venerable" by the Church, and in the process of canonizing Lange. She was declared venerable by Pope Francis on June 22, 2023.
Remember that emulating a saint or a holy person is about incorporating their virtues and values into your own life while staying true to your unique circumstances and calling. Mother Elizabeth Lange's life serves as an inspiration for Catholics to live out their faith in a way that positively impacts the world around them.