As you might know, we launched our newest book, Saints Like Me: Great Black Catholic, earlier this week, and it’s time I give you a little bit of background on this important product.
So, journey with me all the way back to early summer 2020.
In the midst of a pandemic, George Floyd was killed just blocks from a school I taught at for years…and then cities started to burn. What a terrible time. So much fear and division and violence, much of which is still circling in the air…and yet God was there in the midst of it, as He always is.
Out of that hard time, we started to hear the voices of Black Catholics who were ready to share some hard truths with us, hopeful that this time we would hear.
It was a time for us all to stop and reflect. I personally felt overwhelmed and helpless as I listened to stories of racism in our Church. And then, I stumbled upon an IG Story from Ike Ndolo. Ike is an incredible Catholic musician. He led worship at the Blessed Is She Retreat I attended in February (seriously, he’s incredible, and the BIS retreat was a true spiritual experience. GO TO ONE!)
Ike grew up Catholic and was very involved in the Church all through his life…and yet he shared that as a child he didn’t know that there were any Black Saints. He came to this conclusion because he never saw depictions of black saints in churches or anthologies, so he assumed that sainthood was out of reach for him as well. God simply didn’t call people that looked like him to holiness.
Just let that sink in. He grew up thinking that because of the way he looked, he couldn’t be a saint.
Doesn’t that make you heart sink? The fact that a child, any child, would assume that because they have never seen a saint that looks like them, they aren’t called to be a saint.
Satan and his terrible lies!
Ike spoke about this as a trauma that he was still recovering from.
And so, with fresh eyes I began to investigate my own Church. Although my church is incredibly beautiful, all of the statues and stained-glass portraits at my parish white…very white in fact.
And then I started to search through the stacks of Saint Books we own (we own many many!) and besides a token saint of color (usually St. Josephine Bakhita) Black Saints were basically missing.
And so, determined to be changed by what we experienced in the early summer of 2020, I decided that this specific problem, that some children might not be aware that SAINTS LOOK LIKE THEM TOO, my friend Maia and I got to work planning a book that features Great Black Catholics.
The book features 10 incredible Black Catholics. Here’s the all star list:
- St. Felicity
- St. Moses the Black
- St. Martin de Pores
- Venerable Henriette DeLille
- Blessed Victoire Rasoamanarivo
- Venerable Augustus Tolton
- St. Charles Lwanga
- St. Josephin Bakhita
- Blessed Benedict Daswa
- Our Lady of Kibeho
And because we wanted children to know that these saints were real people, we worked hard to create realistic, beautiful images of each one.
I really encourage you to head here to look at all of the pages included in this remarkable little book: https://shop.catholicsprouts.com/products/great-bl…
We created this book for ALL CATHOLICS because holiness is a universal call.
No matter what color skin they have, the children you love need to see Black Catholics so that they know for certain that God calls us all to be saints.
We hope that this book allows you to marvel at the great diversity of saints in heaven and know that whoever you are, wherever you are from, God is calling you to be a saint as well.
All you holy men and women, pray for us!
Nancy and Bill