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Featured Article: Let the Children Come to Me: How We Saved Our Catholic School - It was September 2007. I was three years into my pastorate at the historic St. Augustine Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Washington. Our school had just received its notice of termination: with 175 students, it would close in June 2008 along with seven other parish schools serving predominantly African American students. Flash forward nine years. We did not close but are still here today alive and well! Read Full Story

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Sr. Mary Antona Ebo, FSM Diamond Jubilee Celebration
Archdiocesan Committee For The National Black Catholic Congress (ACNBCC)

Sr. Mary Antona EboSr. Mary Antona Ebo, FSM will celebrate 60 years (Diamond Jubilee) as a Franciscan Sister of Mary.

On July 26, 1946, she became one of her orders first black postulants. Over the years her contributions as a woman religious and an activist for human rights have been numerous:

Sr. Mary Antona EboOn March 10, 1965, after Alabama state troopers attacked voting rights marchers on what became known as "Bloody Sunday," Sister Antona and other nuns from the Franciscan Sisters of Mary traveled to Selma and joined the march to Montgomery when it resumed two weeks later. She became a key speaker at the march when a broadcaster recorded a confrontation between Sr. Antona and local government agents. Her words-"I am here because I am a Negro, a nun, a Catholic, and because I want to bear witness" - were broadcast around the world.

  • In 1968, she helped found and later served as president of the National Black Sisters' Conference.
  • In 1976, Sr. Antona became the first black woman religious to head a hospital, when she was named administrator of St. Clare Hospital, in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
  • In 2000, the 35th Anniversary of what came to be known as the "Right to Vote Bridge Crossing," Sr. Antona was honored by the Voting Rights Institute in Selma, Alabama, with the Living Legend Award.
  • In 2002, Sr. Antona received the Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Celebration Commission of Missouri.
  • The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis honored Sr. Antona by naming a conference room after her at the Cardinal Rigali Pastoral Center in Shrewsbury,Mo.
  • Sr. Antona's experiences with the March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, is included in the Library of Congress Exhibition, "Voices of Civil Rights."

A Mass of Celebration was held on Saturday, June 10, 2006, at St. Alphonsus Liguori 'Rock' Catholic Church, 1118, North Grand Blvd, St. Louis, Mo., 63108. The Celebrant, was Bishop J. Terry Steib, SVD, of the Diocese of Memphis Tennessee. Sr. Antona renewed her vows during the Mass. A reception in the gym followed Mass.

Contact: Sharon Cooney-Smith
Phone: (314)427-5672


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