Fr. Augustus Tolton was the first black priest in American history. He was born a slave, eventually studied in Rome, and was a beloved pastor.
As great as St. Patrick is and important to Ireland, as Tom and Noëlle Crowe tell us, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day didn’t become the cultural phenomenon it is until Irish-Americans essentially created it and exported it around the world.
Mary Edmonia Lewis was a black Catholic woman and a great sculptor who gained respect and admiration around the world, but who had to leave the U.S. to gain it.