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:
On 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
- 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
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