Born 1784 in Santiago de Cuba, in a French-speaking community.
Immigrated to the US (specifically Baltimore, MD)
in search of a better life.
Noticed a lack of education opportunities for children of Caribbean immigrants,
so she used her own money and home to educate children of color, despite being a Black woman in a slave state long before the Emancipation Proclamation. She operated the school for over 10 years.
Later became foundress of Oblate Sisters of Providence, the FIRST African-American religious order,
in a time when Black men and women were not permitted to enter into religious life in the US.
She was the FIRST African-American Mother Superior.
Over the course of her life, she lead the charge
in offering education to unserved children of color,
an orphanage, a widow’s home, spiritual direction, religious education classes, vocational training, classes to teach Black adults how to read and write, education for freed slaves, shelter for the elderly, and care for the terminally ill during the cholera epidemic of 1832.
Experienced lots of hardships despite
all of her successes.
Later in life, felt abandonment
at dwindling number of pupils
and when many of her closest
companions left the order.
Lived through intense
disappointment and opposition until her death at age 98 in 1882.