Last year, an American cause for canonization took another step forward. In June of 2013, Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange (c. 1794-1882), the foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, was exhumed from her resting place (read a fascinating eye-witness account by a well-know forensic anthropologist) in a Baltimore cemetery and moved to the sisters’ Motherhouse to be interred in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Providence.
“We have prayed fervently for this day to become a reality, and now God has answered our prayers,” said Sister Mary Alexis Fisher, OSP, Superior General of the Oblate Sisters of Providence.
Mother Mary, along with Sulpician Father James Nicholas Joubert, founded the first religious congregation of women of African descent in the United States. Mother’s cause was opened in 1991 and officially approved in 2004.
Though not an-American born citizen, this Cuban emigre was moved to help African American refugee children in the slave state of Maryland. She opened a school for children, many years before the Emancipation Proclamation. As one can readily imagine, poverty and racial injustice were her companions on the heroic road of sanctity.
Currently, the Order has 80 members serving in the U.S. and Costa Rica, committed to education of children and service to the poor. To see a moving video of the reinternment ceremony, click here.