National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Black Saints: Pierre Toussaint

  • Painting of Pierre Toussiant holding golden scissors in shape of cross (CNS photo/courtesy Christina Miller) (March 7, 2008)
 |  NCR Today

Nov. 10 St. Pierre Toussaint

Did you know that a former slave who worked as a hairdresser in New York more than two centuries ago is on track to become the first African American man canonized as a saint from the United States?

Pierre (pee-YAIR) Toussaint (too-SAHNT) was born and raised as a Catholic slave in Haiti when it was still a French colony. To escape the slave rebellions that eventually drove out the French government, Toussaint’s owners fled, with him, to New York. He was assigned as an apprentice to one of the city’s leading hairdressers, and became quite successful. When his slave-owner died, Toussaint quietly supported his owner’s widow. She, in gratitude, freed Toussaint from his slave status. Toussaint later married and used his considerable wealth to support charitable causes, including work against religious and racial prejudice. Toussaint’s death in 1853, at age 87, sparked widespread mourning. Just 13 years ago, Pope John Paul II declared Pierre Toussaint, Venerable- the first step to becoming a saint.

This is copyrighted material, used with the permission of the Archdiocese of Washington, Office of Black Catholics

More about Black Catholic history

facebook_roundicon.jpg Like NCR on Facebook for news updates, conversation and fun prizes.

Blacks in Catholic Christianity have a long and vibrant history.

Much of that history is generally unknown to Black Catholics as well as to the rest of the faithful. On July 24, 1990, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month to celebrate this long history and proud heritage of Black Catholics. During this month we celebrate the presence of our ancestors who kept the faith and are models of living the Gospel life.

November is Black Catholic History Month, read more about it.

Sign up for our daily Black Catholic Saints email during the month of November to learn more about these holy men and women.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR2.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

April 11-24, 2014

04-11-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.