Step toward sainthood for Mother Henriette Delille

Mother Henriette Delille (CNS file photo)

UPDATE: CNS STORY: Pope brings African-American foundress one step closer to sainthood

VATICAN CITY — This hasn’t gotten much media attention, but an American took a step toward sainthood on Saturday.

Pope Benedict approved a decree saying that the Christian virtues were lived heroically by Mother Henriette Delille, a freeborn woman of African descent in 19th-century New Orleans who founded the Sisters of the Holy Family, a congregation of black sisters.

The order was designed to serve the poor and disadvantaged, and today its more than 200 members continue to operate schools for the poor and homes for the elderly in Louisiana and several other states. They also have a mission in Belieze in Central America.

The decree means Mother Henriette can be beatified after a miracle is attributed to her intercession.