Baltimore Woman, an Immigrant from Cuba, One Step Closer to Sainthood

Baltimore, Maryland – Sr. Mary Lange, the foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, is one step closer to canonization in the Roman Catholic Church. On June 22, 2023, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints promulgated six decrees, recognizing the “heroic virtues” of five people and the martyrdom of 20 others killed in the Spanish Civil War. Sr. Mary Lange was among the five people recognized for their “heroic virtues.”


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Born in Santiago de Cuba in 1794, Sr. Mary Lange immigrated to the United States in the early 19th century. She settled in Baltimore and devoted her life to serving the African American community and promoting education and religious instruction. In 1828, she founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first-ever Catholic religious order for women of African descent, which focused on providing education and care for the poor, sick, and orphaned.

A Life of Service and Devotion

Sr. Mary Lange’s life was marked by her dedication to serving others and unwavering faith. She faced significant challenges in her work, including discrimination and persecution from the Catholic Church and wider society. Despite these obstacles, she remained committed to her mission, and the order grew and flourished under her leadership. Today, the Oblate Sisters of Providence continue to serve communities across the United States, and their work is a testament to Sr. Mary Lange’s legacy.

Sr. Mary Lange’s cause for canonization was first introduced in 1991 and has been under consideration by the Vatican since that time. The recognition of her “heroic virtues” is an essential step towards her eventual canonization and is a cause for celebration among the many people whose life and work have inspired.

A Legacy of Inspiration and Hope

The recognition of Sr. Mary Lange’s “heroic virtues” is a significant milestone in her cause for canonization and is a testament to her impact on the world around her. Her life and work continue to inspire people of all backgrounds and faiths, and her legacy is a reminder of the power of faith, perseverance, and dedication to serving others.

If Sr. Mary Lange is eventually canonized, she will become the first African American saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Her recognition as a

“Servant of God” is a significant achievement, but canonization is lengthy and complex. It involves a thorough investigation of the candidate’s life and works and the verification of miracles attributed to their intercession. If Sr. Mary Lange is found to have performed miracles, it would be another step toward her eventual canonization.

Sr. Mary Lange’s recognition as a “Servant of God” is essential for the Oblate Sisters of Providence and the African American Catholic community. It is a reminder of the contributions that African Americans have made to the Catholic Church and of the importance of recognizing and celebrating the diversity of the Church’s history and traditions.

The recognition of Sr. Mary Lange’s “heroic virtues” is also a reminder of the ongoing struggle for social justice and equality. Sr. Mary Lange’s work was rooted in her commitment to serving the poor and marginalized, and her legacy is a call to continue that work today. As we celebrate her life and achievements, we must also rededicate ourselves to building a more just and equitable society.

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Sr. Mary Lange’s cause for canonization is a reminder that sainthood is not just for the famous or the powerful but for ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives of service and devotion. Her recognition as a “Servant of God” is a testament to the power of faith and the impact one person can have on the world.

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As canonization continues, we can look to Sr. Mary Lange’s life and work as a source of inspiration and hope. She reminds us that even in the face of adversity and injustice, we can make a difference by living lives of service and compassion.

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