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.

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4 Responses to Step toward sainthood for Mother Henriette Delille

  1. Rev. Arlen W. Harris, OFM Cap. says:

    This is really great news, not just for African American Catholics, but all Catholics in the United States. I had a chance to meet some of the Sisters of the Holy Family while studying at Xavier University in 2005. Mother Delille’s vision and service lives on through them. I hope that she will be beatified and canonized soon.

  2. Brian says:

    If it be God’s will, may she be canonized.

  3. Desiree says:

    This is wonderful! This beautiful woman of peace and mercy deserves sainthood. Her gracious and tireless efforts to assist slaves, people of color, and impoverished persons in Louisiana was saintly. She was the Mother Theresa of the South. God Bless her soul.

  4. Catherine R. Boesch says:

    We need a miracle. Does anyone know how to intercede with Mother Delille on behalf of an unborn child? Please send information to We need everyone’s prayers.

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