Mother Mary Lange, the Oblate Sisters of Providence founder, is on the road to sainthood. Letters of testimony supporting this mission continue to arrive at the Vatican. The Vatican requires a miracle to be approved for beatification and a second one to be named a saint. In 1992, Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore at the time, supported her path to Sainthood, with the approval of Rome, and officially opened a formal investigation into her life which might lead to her canonization as a saint.
Elizabeth Clarisse Lange was born in 1784 in Haiti and fled the country when a revolution occurred. She came to Baltimore where many other Catholic, French-speaking Caribbean refugees had settled. She was well-educated, generous and deeply spiritual, Despite opposition, Mother Lange offered free education to children of slaves and former slaves in her home, who prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, were denied public education.
Later, due to her determination and faith, she was asked by Archbishop James Whitfield to establish a religious order of women for the education of Black children. With the help of the Church, Mother Lange founded the Baltimore-based Oblate Sisters of Providence in 1828 as the first woman’s religious community for women of color. She helped establish the first Black Catholic school in the Catholic Church of America St. Frances Academy, and later, she took vows and took the name of Mary. Despite hardships, throughout the 19th century, the sisters at the Oblate taught children how to read the Bible and served the community.
Mother Lange died February 3, 1882, but the Oblate sisters continue their work. They teach in schools, work in parishes, care for the sick and labor in other ministries in the United States, Cuba, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and parts of Africa.
To read her prayer card, click here.