Oblate Sisters of Providence, Established To Educate Young Girls of African Descent in 1829

3 Posted by - September 13, 2018 - BLACK EDUCATION, Black First, LATEST POSTS

The of Providence was founded by Mother Elizabeth Lange and Rev. James Nicholas Joubert, SS in 1829 in Baltimore, Maryland. The school was founded to educate young girls of African descent. It is believed that it could be the first Roman Catholic religious school of its kind for young African girls. Rev. Joubert was born in France and working in Haiti, when he was forced by the Revolution to escape to the United States. He arrived to Baltimore and entered into St. Mary’s Seminary to become a Sulpician priest. He was soon given charge of the colored French speaking Catholics. However, he found that he was not making progress with the children because they were all having trouble reading and understanding. So, he had the idea to create the school to help them. He met four women whom he wanted to help them with consecrating their lives to god.

Sister Lange (Founder)After a year, the women were ready to fully convert and take their vows. The four sisters were, Sister Elisabeth Lange, Sister Mary Boegues, Sister Mary Balas and Sister Mary Duchemin. The sisters worked together to open up the Catholic school for girls in the city and often helped teach the adult women through evening classes. The four women also nursed the terminally ill during the cholera epidemic of 1832. They provided a home for children with no homes and the elderly as well. In 1871 the sisters vacated the motherhouse on Richmond St. because the city needed the property. A new location was found on a knoll on what was then the outskirts of the city and a new motherhouse was built on Chase St.

By the early 1900s the sisters had schools and orphanages in Baltimore, St. Louis, Washington, Missouri and many other states, with a total of eighteen states. Some schools and mission work lasted longer than others. It is estimated that by 1950 there were well over 300 Oblate Sisters of Providence helping to care for Black Children. The motherhouse remained on Chase Street in Baltimore until a new motherhouse was built in 1961 at 701 Gun Rd. in southwest Baltimore County. It is called Our Lady of Mount Providence and remains the motherhouse today.




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