Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By

2/20/2007 (8 years ago)

Ignatius Press (www.ignatius.com)

SAN FRANCISCO, Cal. (Ignatius Press) - Fr. Augustine Tolton (1854-1897) was the first black priest in the United States. Born into a black Catholic slave family, Father Tolton conquered almost insurmountable odds to become a Catholic priest.

Highlights

By

Ignatius Press (www.ignatius.com)

2/20/2007 (8 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


He died an early death at 43, and this pioneer black American priest left behind a shining legacy of holy service to God, the Church and his people. With the thorough scholarly research and inspirational writing in Born into Slavery by Sister Caroline Hemesath, the great legacy of this first black priest, and his courage in the face of incredible prejudice within the Church and society, will be a source of strength and hope for modern Christians who face persecution for their faith, especially black Catholics who still experience similar prejudices. In American history, many black people have achieved, against great odds, success and made distinct contributions to our society and their fellowman. But Father Tolton faced a different source of prejudice - an opposition from within the Church, the one institution he should have been able to rely on for compassion and support. He endured many rebuffs, as a janitor spent long hours in the church chapel in prayer, and attended clandestine classes taught by friendly priests and nuns who saw in his eyes the bright spark of the love of God, devotion to the Church and a determination to serve his people. Denied theological training in America, these friends helped him to receive his priestly education, and ordination, in Rome. He later became the pastor of St. Monica's Church in Chicago and established a center at St. Monica's which was the focal point for the life of black Catholics in Chicago for 30 years. The author interviewed many people who knew Father Tolton personally, including Katharine Drexel, and presents a deeply inspiring portrait of a great American Catholic. Within this book are various illustrations and photographs. Listed below are some quotes about the book: "Few stories are as moving, and as exciting as that of Father Augustine Tolton, who rose from the chains of slavery to become the first recognized Black priest in the United States. The life of this holy hero has inspired me since my childhood, and having this opportunity to reacquaint myself with Father Tolton's virtuous life, has been a true blessing. Sister Caroline Hemesath's biography, first published three decades ago, makes a welcome reappearance this summer, from Ignatius Press. This is a life that for all its accomplishments on behalf of a specific minority, imitates closely the life of our Lord Himself, readily seen in the generosity, the long-suffering, and the never disturbed peace that marked the short, but so eventful years of Father Augustine Tolton. Everyone will be moved by his story, and I especially urge young Catholics to read the book, and learn from Father Tolton, just how much a life can mean, and how much God can accomplish through us, if we are willing." -Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta p> "From Slave to Priest is an inspiring account of the first Black Priest in the United States. Augustine Tolton was born a slave and persevered against all odds to attain his goal to be a Catholic Priest. While the Civil War ended slavery, it only began the struggle for racial equality. Tolton's fervent vocational commitment was constantly challenged by prejudice, but he also experienced strong support. His brief priestly ministry was marred by prejudice, yet showed the power of God by the acceptance of both black and white faithful. Tolton's perseverance in his vocational commitment is an inspiring lesson for us all." -Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia "...Fr. Tolton is certainly an inspiring example of courage and determination in today's Church, for all of us called to respond to God's vocation to holiness, and especially those called to the priesthood and religious life. I am sure this book will contribute to making known his witness to unwavering fidelity to Christ: a legacy not only for the American Church, but also for all modern Christians, who face persecution for their faith..." -Cardinal Ivan Dias Prefect, Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Formerly Collegium Propaganda Fide, which educated Fr. Tolton)

---

This book review was made available to Catholic Online by permission of Ignatius Press. The book may be ordered at (www.ignatius.com).



Comments


More Living Faith

No school days for working children

Image of

By Tony Magliano

It's that time again when adults take off to celebrate Labor Day, and kids head back to the adventures a new school year. But for millions of children worldwide the adventures of a new school year remain but a dream. Sadly, these children will never learn to read or ... continue reading


Catholic lawmakers asked by Pope to rally for pro-life, immigrants and persecuted Christians Watch

Image of The Holy Father was presented with a document by lawmakers outlining their commitment to promoting life in their respective nations, especially in areas of abortion, Christian persecution, and migration.

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

On Sunday, Pope Francis urged Catholic legislators to be protectors of human life, calling them to "be strong" against a throwaway culture marked by Christian persecution, and the rejection of the unborn and migrants. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The pontiff ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis' visit end in disaster? Residents say organizers don't have their act together Watch

Image of Mayor Nutter unveils the 'I'll Be There' campaign to encourage shop owners to stay open during the papal visit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Philadelphia residents are stressing over the upcoming Papal visit, and for good reason. Preparations for the visit appear ad hoc and are being poorly communicated to the community, according to locals. LOA ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Will Pope Francis' visit to ... continue reading


Bishop Melki, executed after he refused to convert to Islam in 1915 has been beatified Watch

Image of Pope Francis earlier this month confirmed Bishop Melki's beatification saying he was killed in hatred.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Martyred during the Assyrian Genocide in 1915, Bishop Melki is on the road towards sainthood with his beatification this past weekend. Killed in Gazarta during the sayfo, or "putting to the sword" of Syrians in 1915, he was killed after he refused to convert to ... continue reading


For the first time we can see how BEAUTIFUL the 'real' Saint Rose was. Scientists have reconstruct her likeness Watch

Image of According to the news site Peru Catolico, the researchers said the reconstruction shows she was

By CNA/EWTN News

The face of the first saint of the New World may be better known than ever; thanks to a team of scientists, that has analyzed the skull of Saint Rose of Lima. Lima, Peru (CNA/EWTN News) - Scientists from the University of Saint Martin de Porres in Peru and the ... continue reading


Quest for God is modern world's biggest challenge, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says Watch

Image of The Ratzinger Schuelerkreis will gather Sept. 28-30 to discuss the theme set them by their former professor.

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

Benedict XVI considers the quest for God to be contemporary society's foremost challenge, according to one of the emeritus Pope's former students, who has organized the annual meeting of Ratzinger's students to discuss that very topic. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Changing your HEART, not just behavior is a vital part of conversion process, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis said that merely obeying the rules isn't enough to make us holy, but that if we truly want to serve God our conversion has to be deeper, changing the heart. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's not exterior things which ... continue reading


Pilgrimage with Pope Francis - THIRD STATION - St. Joachim, patron of fathers

Image of St. Joachim, pray for us!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Welcome to the third station on our virtual pilgrimage to Philadelphia with Pope Francis ahead of the World Meeting of Families. Let us pray! About St. JoachimBy tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. After ... continue reading


Priest to lead pilgrims on 104 mile walk to see Pope Francis in Philly - Here's how you too can make a pilgrimage Watch

Image of Pilgrims in Scotland make a Good Friday trek burdened with crosses. Many Catholics around the world still make pilgrimages, even if they are the work of just a day.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An intrepid group of about 20 pilgrims will be making the 104 mile walk from Baltimore to Philadelphia to attend Mass with Pope Francis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Remember, our Lord walked to all of his appointments," Fr. John J. Lombardi told Catholic ... continue reading


Atheists force portrait of Jesus out of Kansas public school Watch

Image of The portrait of Jesus that has been on display at the school since the 1950s.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Local residents in Chanute, Kansas expressed anger after the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully filed a petition for the removal of a portrait of Jesus Christ, which had been hanging for over 60 years in a Kansas public school.   ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter