Saturday, November 2, 2013

National Black Catholic History Month: Father Augustus Tolton

Some people say Father Augustus Tolton was the first black American priest, but that's not clear (I'll discuss why in a later post). What is clear, however, is that he was born into slavery and was the first child of two American slaves to be ordained a priest.

Tolton was born in 1854 to the enslaved Peter Paul Tolton and Martha Jane Chisley in Missouri, and baptized Catholic. He felt the call to the priesthood as a young man, but was rejected by multiple American seminaries because he was black. He was ordained in Rome in 1886, and returned to the U.S., where he ministered in the Chicago area for many years. He died of heat stroke on July 9, 1897, as his mother, sisters and several nuns prayed nearby.

The Official Organization for the Promotion of the Cause of Canonization of Father Augustus Tolton (1854-1897) is working toward, well, the canonization of Father Tolton. There is also a Facebook page for the effort.

(Image via

It's National Black Catholic History Month

Follow my National Black Catholic History Month tag for more information on black Catholic notables.

No comments:

Post a Comment