BALTIMORE (WMAR) — The longtime cause to advance the first ever African American to sainthood is moving along according to Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori.
Mother Mary Lange immigrated to Baltimore in the early 19th century and founded the Oblate Sisters, the first religious order for women of African descent in the Unites States.
She operated what would later become St. Frances Academy, which provided a Catholic education to black children in Baltimore despite rampant racism at the time.
Lange's case for sainthood was among many things discussed this week during the Baltimore Archdiocese's visit to the Vatican for the “ad limina” meetings, where bishops present detailed reports on their dioceses to Pope Francis.
“I’m happy to say her cause is moving along,” Archbishop Lori said. “The position paper on her life of heroic virtue is nearly complete, and I think we should be all praying very hard that Mother Mary Lange’s cause will advance and that one day she will be canonized a saint.”
Xaverian Brother Reginald Cruz has recently completed writing his “positio,” a document arguing for Mother Lange’s sainthood, which has been talked about since 1991.
Once published, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints will consider whether or not the "positio" should be approved and sent to the pope, who could grant Mother Lange the title of “venerable.”
After that, church scholars will then have to document two confirmed miracles attributed to Lange's intercession.
Archbishop Lori called Mother Lange “a person who was in every way a pioneer,” who “stood head and shoulders above the racism of her era.”
In September 2021, the Archdiocese of Baltimore plans to open a new 500 student Catholic school named after Mother Lange. The school would be the first of its kind built in Baltimore City in the last 60 years, and will serve students from kindergarten to eight grade.