Mother Mary Lange

Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, O.S.P. – 1784 to February 3, 1882 (Adapted from Black Catholics on the Road to Sainthood, Michael R. Heinlen, editor)


During the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), Mary Lange fled to Cuba with her family. While in Cuba, Lange received a quality education, and she left Cuba in the early 1800’s to pursue life as a Black free woman in the United States. Using money that she received from her merchant father, Lange moved to Baltimore, MD in 1813, where she used her resources to provide free education to Caribbean migrant children at a time when it was illegal for enslaved people to receive an education. In 1828, Mary Lange opened a school for girls of color, and in 1829 asked for and received permission to establish a religious congregation for Black Catholic women. When the Oblate Sisters of Providence were founded in 1829, Mother Lange served as its first provincial superior. The Sisters educated Black children and illiterate adults, while also caring for widows and orphans. During the cholera epidemic of the 1830’s and 40’s, guided by Mother Lange’s leadership and guidance, the Oblate Sisters of Providence aided and provided relief to those impacted by this epidemic.


In 1991, the Archdiocese of Baltimore opened an investigation for the canonization of Mother Mary Lange.


O Almighty and Eternal God, You granted Mother Mary Lange extraordinary trust in Your providence. You endowed her with humility, courage, holiness, and an extraordinary sense of service to the poor and sick. You enabled her to found the Oblate Sisters of Providence and provide educational, social, and spiritual ministry especially to the African American community. Mother Lange’s love for all enabled her to see Christ in each person, and the pain of prejudice and racial hatred never blurred that vision. Deign to raise her to the highest honors of the altar in order that, through her intercession, more souls may come to a deeper understanding and more fervent love of You.  Heavenly Father, glorify Your heart by granting also this favor (mention your request here) which we ask through the intercession of Your faithful servant, Mother Mary Lange.


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Public Domain image of Mother Mary Lange via