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August 12, 1994     The Message
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August 12, 1994
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Aug Mother Henriette Delille St. Meinrad monk writing biography of foundress considered for canonization By FLORENCE HERMAN Catholic News Service NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- A Benedictine priest from St. Meinrad Archabbey has been chosen by the Sisters of the Holy Family to write the biog- raphy of their foundress, whose canonization cause was accepted in 1988 by the Vati- can Congregation for Saint- hood Causes. Benedictine Father Cyprian Davis has begun work on the biography of Mother Henriette Delille, who founded the New Orleans-based order in 1842. Mother Henriette, a free woman of color, was born in New orleans in 1812. If her cause advances, she could be- come the first African-Ameri- can saint. A "free person of color" was considered in pre-Civil War New Orleans to be a class apart. The term applied to any nonslave who had any degree of black parentage. Some of them even owned slaves. Father Davis' association with New Orleans runs deep. He teaches at Xavier Univer- sity's Institute for Black Catholic Studies during the summer. He also wrot a his- tory of black U.S. Catholics that was published in 1990. When someone's sainthood Following is a feature in the Message, designed to help draw together the People of God in southwestern Indiana. Readers are invited to submit information about people who may benefit by some extra prayers and attention. Services for Bernard J. Madden, 71, who died Aug. 4, were held Aug. 8 at St. Simon Church, Washington. He is the father of Father Michael Madden, pastor at St. James Church, St. James. Survivors also include his wife, Helena M., sons, Den- nis, James and Christopher, and sisters, Rebecca Ann An- derson and Kathleen Burns. Please send information for PEOPLE WE CARE ABOUT to Mary Ann Hughes, The Message, P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724. cause is accepted by the Vati- can, one of the first steps in the process is to assemble the writings of that person and what was written about them. Father Davis told the Clar- ion Herald, New Orleans arch- diocesan newspaper, that he has had a hard time finding anything Mother Henriette wrote. "We found a couple of letters she had written," he said, "and some financial records between her and Pere Etienne Roussel- lon," who was her mentor in getting her order started. When Mother Henriette founded the Sisters of the Holy Family, a religious community for black women, she fought in- credible odds and civil laws which forbade persons of color from forming such societies. Mother Henriette was born of a liaison between a white planter and a free woman of color, and given the mores of her society, was expected to also form a liaison with a wealthy patron. But she fought the odds and founded her com- munity to serve blacks. Free people of color some- times used various opportuni- ties to declare themselves white, as is presumed to have happened in the case of Mother Henriette's brother and his children, and the children of her half-sister, who had a liai- son with an Austrian business- man. Father Davis has done re- search in the New Orleans archdiocesan archives, seeking clues to Mother Henriette and her place in the church com- munity. "At this point, I'm research- ing the registers of St. Augus- tine Church from around 1847, '48 and '49, he said. "Since her community lived in this parish and her school was here, I felt sure that I would find traces of her." St. Augustine Parish, founded in 1841, served both whites and free people of color in its New Orleans neighbor- hood. Father Davis' detective work has turned up some results. He found entries listing Mother Henriette as a godparent and as a marriage witness. "In that society," he said, "godparents were important and they indicate different re- lationships. The baptismal records indicate the names of a child's parents, whether he or she was slave or free, and the,- names of the godparents. "After placing Henriette in the community and the local church, then I will try to link her up to the community at large and show her relation- ship to the wider church," Fa- ther Davis said. ..... "Even if you can't find a whole lot of things she wrote," FATHER. CYPRIAN he added, "you can find world in which she lived which she impacted." The Sisters of the ily continue the work Henriette begun. One of her earliest workS charity was housing needy, derly women. It was conJ ered the first Catholic old home in the United StateS. continues today as the Nursing Home of the Family. The school she founded 1851 continues to serve black women as St. MarY Academy. The sisters spread out to do their eduC! tional and catechetical across Louisiana to TexaS, ifornia and Belize. Contacting Congress about health care reform The following article was provided by Msgr. Robert N. Lynch, general secretary, Office of the General Secretary, United States Catholic Confer- ence, in Washington, D.C. Within the next two to three weeks, the House and Senate will vote on national health care reform. We have identi- fied key members of the House and Senate whose votes will be crucial to defeating abortion mandates and promoting uni- versal coverage. You are re- ceiving this because one or more members of Congress from your diocese are on this list. Please seriously consider personally contacting them by telephone within the next week. As of August 3, both Senate and House leaders have out- lined bills they hope to take to their respective bodies for a vote. Both bills includes abor- tion in the basic benefits pack- age. The House, led by Con- Knights Continued frompage 1 Knights of Columbus would have to provide every one of its employees with insurance for abortion on demand. And every Catholic diocese, every Catholic parish, every Catholic school would have to do the same." A resolution, approved during the convention said abortion coverage in health care reform would "grossly violate the con- sciences of millions of Ameri- cans." Other resolutions passed during the convention reiter- ated the Knights' opposition to legalized abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and to sex education stressing "biology, birth control and diverse sex- ual lifestyles." The Knights also reaffirmed their support for school choice which includes Catholic schools, and of church teaching on marriage and family. They also gave support to the pope about his concerns about the upcoming U.N.-spon- sored conference on population and development to be held in Cairo, Egypt. Bishop James T. McHugh of Camden, N.J., who will be a member of the Vatican delega- tion at the conference, said many developing nations "are in general agreement with the Holy See" on population and development issues, while some developed countries, mainly in Western Europe, have been "looking for ways to shape some type of consensus." He criticized the U.S. gov- ernment as "the bulwark of ob- III Vincennes ' Bicknell - Sandborn Monroe City Princeton, Patoka Member F.D.I.C. I struction," with "representa- tives (who) are single-minded, hard-headed and intransigent, and who are using both the power and prestige of this na- tion to insure the agreement and support of other nations for the so-called American point of view." About 2,000 Knights at- tended the 1.5 million-member organization's ll2th conven- tion in Pittsburgh. m v ! FOR COMPLETE ELECTRICAL SERVICE FISCHER ELECTRIC INC. i SCHNELLVILLE, IN 389-2418 I MILLER. & MILLER ] I "Funeral Pro-Planning| I .,. ' Since 1940" I 424-9274 gressman Gephart, has pro- duced a bill that includes an employer mandate with subsi- dies for small businesses, as well as expansion of Medicare and the Federal government health plan, to achieve univer- sal coverage. The Senate, led by Senator Mitchell, has pro- duced a bill that includes in- surance reform but no immedi- ate mandates. Mandated would be triggered if 95 per- cent of the population is not covered by the early years of the next decade. Insurance subsidies would be provided for low-income children and preg- nant women. Our strategy on both issues -- providing universal coverage and stopping abortion mandates -- will focus on the floor debates. In each amendments designed abortion out of the fits package are beiz cussed. Similarly, the Senate, am signed to keep abortion the basic benefits being discussed. pecially in the Senate, ments that strengthen sal coverage are discussed. But there to be enough votes to them. Representative. FI Closky's address zs non Building, D.C. 20515. His telephone number is 4636. His FAX number 225-4688. ) HAUBSTADT eLeCTmC Licensed Bonded Insured Industrial, Commercial and Residential P.O, Box 405 TONY NAZARIO Haubstadt IN 47639 812-768.5207 1-8(:.766.27S7 I P.O. LINTON,