While he was born free, he could not read or write. He was poor, a peasant who became a shepherd. At the beginning of his life he did not seem he was destined for any memorable accomplishments. But, as is often the case, God had other plans. A man of charity, of keen spiritual insight, and a natural leader, he became a saint.
“I lived a very happy and carefree life, without knowing what suffering (was)”. What a wonderful thing to be able to say. But it was not to last. The woman who described her young life in this way was to be captured by slave traders, would endure pain, torture and suffering, experienced more suffering than many. And yet, when hearing about Jesus from the Canossian Sisters, she could say this: “Those holy mothers instructed me with heroic patience and introduced me to that God who from childhood I had felt in my heart without knowing who He was.” How lovely, isn’t it? Her suffering became life-giving because of the presence of Jesus who was always with her. The example of the sisters caused her to become one of them, and to be a splendid example of the impact of a relationship with Jesus.
What many Catholics may not realize, is that Black Catholics in the United States have tremendous accomplishments too. Over the course of Black History Month, The DePorres Pages will highlight the accomplishments of Black Catholics, with short Catholic Schoolhouse podcasts.