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Oblate Sisters of Providence: First successful African-American Roman Catholic sisterhood

Bridging the Gap
Posted at 5:00 AM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 06:28:45-05

In the early years, African-Americans were not allowed to read and write or serve in church leadership roles. 

For several decades, it was a struggle for blacks to find their religious identities and educate themselves. 

During the mid-1800's with limited resources, Elizabeth "Mother Mary" Lang along with one of her friends, began educating children and women of color inside her Baltimore home. 

"She literally came here to Baltimore in the early 1800's and she lived in a house and she had a school in her house for children of color," said Sister Marcia Hall of the Oblate Sisters of Providence. 

With the help of Father James Joubert, Lang established the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first successful Roman Catholic sisterhood in the world. 

This was a significant accomplishment  because it was developed by women of color. 

"We have survived slavery, we survived a lot of different things," Hall said. 

The Oblate Sisters of Providence continues to serve the community and provide outreach for the poor.

Bridging the Gap celebrates Black History Month by sharing the stories of Baltimore's African American history.

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