Henriette Delille is two steps away from becoming a Saint

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Women on 2019-02-22 23:54Z by Steven

Henriette Delille is two steps away from becoming a Saint

The Louisiana Weekly
2019-01-02

HENRIETTE DELILLE
Henriette Delille

As the Who Dat Nation roots for the New Orleans Saints as they strive to win the NFL Super Bowl in Atlanta, another group of dedicated and faithful folks is eagerly awaiting the day that their Beloved Founder becomes a bonafide Saint in her own right.

Henriette Delille, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family, is but two steps from being recognized by the Vatican as a Roman Catholic Saint.

Henriette Delille was born in New Orleans, La., on Thursday, March 11, 1813. Her mother, Marie-Josèphe “Pouponne” Díaz, was a free woman of color of New Orleans. Her father Jean-Baptiste Lille Sarpy (var. de Lille) was born about 1758 in Fumel, Lotet-Garonne, France. Their union was a common-law marriage typical of the contemporary plaçage system. She had a brother Jean Delille and other siblings. Their maternal grandparents were Juan José (var. Jean-Joseph) Díaz, a Spanish merchant, and Henriette (Dubreuil) Laveau, a Créole of color. Their paternal grandparents were Charles Sarpy and Susanne Trenty, both natives of Fumel, France. Her maternal great-grandmother is said to be Cécile Marthe Basile Dubreuil, a woman of color considered to be a daughter of Villars Dubreuil, born in 1716, who immigrated to Louisiana from France. Henriette and her family lived in the French Quarter, not far from St. Louis Cathedral

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The first real New Orleans saint? Henriette Delille’s path to canonization

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Women on 2017-04-30 00:56Z by Steven

The first real New Orleans saint? Henriette Delille’s path to canonization

The Times-Picayune
2017-03-02

Kim Chatelain


Portrait of Henriette Delille. This “carte de visite” albumen photo was taken by New Orleans photographer A. Constant at his studio on Hospital Street (now Governor Nichols). It’s the only known portrait of Delille.

It was 2011, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond was seeking a sacred antidote to the violence, murder and racism infesting his hometown. He turned to a venerable figure in New Orleans history, but a person only vaguely known to even the most ardent Roman Catholics, and composed a prayer that is now recited at every local Mass. It ends with the plea: “Mother Henriette Delille, pray for us that we may be a holy family.”

Unknown to many Catholics, the object of their prayers was a French-speaking woman of African descent. She was born in 1812 and grew up in the 500 block of Burgundy Street, and she lived a part of her life as a mistress in a social system known as placage, whereby wealthy white European men entered relationships with free women of color to circumvent laws against interracial marriage.

After the deaths of her two young children born through a concubine relationship, however, Delille at age 24 formally rejected the societal norms and experienced a religious transformation that eventually led to the formation of the Sisters of the Holy Family order. The community of Creole nuns provided care for those on the bottom rung of antebellum society, administering to the elderly, nursing the sick and teaching people of color who at the time had limited education opportunities. To this day, Holy Family nuns continue to serve out the mission launched in the mid-1800s by doing good works around the globe.

Now, 175 years after she founded the order, Delille stands at the doorstep of sainthood. If canonized, she will become the first New Orleanian, and the first U.S.-born black person, to be recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church…

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