The canonization cause for Ven. Henriette Delille (d. 1862), foundress of the Sisters of the Holy family in New Orleans, continues to move forward. Twenty-nine years ago, her cause was opened and in 2010, Pope Benedict declared her Venerable. As the Sisters celebrate their 175th anniversary this year, they are hoping that the details of a miracle, attributed to Henriette’s intercession, will be accepted and authenticated so that Henriette can be Beatified during this eventful year.
The Sisters of the Holy Family were founded in 1842. The sick, the infirm and the poor were the Sisters’ first concern and the “dearest objects of solicitude,” but they also sought “to bring back the Glory of God and the salvation of the neighbor by a charitable and edifying behavior.” Henriette’s antidote to the dissolution and irreligion of the time was to “teach the mysteries of the religion and the most important points of Christian morality.” One of her priorities was to promote the Sacrament of Marriage. How we need Henriette’s powerful intercession today when families are so under attack!
An exhibit on her life at the Ursuline Convent Museum in New Orleans opened late last year and runs through September 2017. Created by the Archdiocese’s archivist, it highlights the life of Henriette, born to a French father (it is believed) and mother who was a “free woman of color” of French, Spanish and African ancestry. Her great, great grandmother, Marie Ann, was a slave who purchased her freedom. The women in Henriette’s family were free, independent and well-to-do. But Henriette broke with family tradition, choosing instead to devote her life to the Lord as a “humble servant of slaves.”