Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Oblate Sisters of Providence

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 11
Oblate Sisters of Providence


A congregation of negro nuns founded at Baltimore, Maryland, by the Rev. Jacques Hector Nicholas Joubert de la Muraille, for the education of coloured children. Father Joubert belonged to a noble French family forced by the Revolution to take refuge in San Domingo. Alone of his family, he escaped from a massacre and went to Baltimore, entering St. Mary's Seminary. After his ordination he was given charge of the coloured Catholics of St. Mary's chapel. Finding he was making no headway as the sermons were not remembered and there were no schools where the children could be taught, he formed the idea of founding a religious community for the purpose of educating these children. In this he was encouraged by his two friends, Fathers Babade and Tessier. He was introduced to four coloured women, who kept a small private school, and lived a retired life with the forlorn hope of consecrating their lives to God. Father Joubert made known to them his plans and they offered to be at his service. With the approval of the Archbishop of Baltimore a novitiate was begun and on 2 July, 1829, the first four sisters, Miss Elisabeth Lange of Santiago, Cuba, Miss Mary Rosine Boegues of San Domingo, Miss Mary Frances Balas of San Domingo, Miss Mary Theresa Duchemin of Baltimore made their vows. Sister Mary Elisabeth was chosen superior, and Rev. Father Joubert was appointed director. Gregory XVI approved the order 2 October, 1831 under the title of Oblate Sisters of Providence. At present the sisters conduct schools and orphanages at Baltimore, Washington, Leavenworth, St. Louis, Normandy (Mo.) and 4 houses in Cuba, 2 in Havana, 1 in Santa Clara, 1 in Cardenas. The mother-house and novitiate is at Baltimore. There were 130 sisters, 9 novices and 7 postulants in 1910.

MAGDALEN GRATIN