Nov. 17, 1862 New Orleans Orleans Parish Louisiana, USA
Founder of the black religious community, Sisters of the Holy Family. A descendant of slaves, she was born to an ancestral quadroon family who trained and supplied women to be the mistresses of wealthy white men. Although raised in privilege and comfort, she rebelled and became a nun. When Henriette was declared to be of legal age, she sold all her property and on November 21, 1836, she and eight other black women became the Sisters of Presentation. They cared for the sick and poor and upon acceptance of the order by the Catholic Church assumed the name Sisters of the Holy Family. Mother Henriette Delille died at her convent which was located behind present day historic St. Louis Cathedral. Her work lives on with some 250 Sisters of the Holy Family working in four states and Central America. Sr Henriette Delille is the first United States native-born African American whose cause for canonization has been officially opened by the Catholic Church. In 1989, the Sisters of the Holy Family formally opened its cause with the Vatican in the canonization of Henriette DeLille and was then called Servant of God by Pope John Paul II. She was declared "Venerable" in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. The combined work of the doctors and theologians will be given to the members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints who will present the conclusion to the Holy Father on the first miracle required for beatification. If positive, Henriette will be declared blessed and the Beatification Ceremony will take place in New Orleans LA. Another miracle will be needed for sainthood.