These holy men and women of God are so inspiring! 🙌

In honor of Juneteenth, below are eight saints and holy people of God all Catholics should know about. We've included descriptions of their holy lives and a prayer for their intercession.

Here are eight black saints and holy people of God all Catholics should know about:

1) Saint Charles Lwanga

Philip K, Flickr, Public Domain

Saint Charles Lwanga is a martyr and saint. He is one of 22 Ugandan martyrs. He defended his young adult companions against the homosexual demands of the Bugandan king and instructed them in their Catholic faith.

He is the patron saint of African Catholic Youth Action, converts, and torture victims. The Church celebrates his feast on June 3.

Prayer for the intercession of Saint Charles Lwanga:

"Eternal Father, I wish to honor St Charles Lwanga and Companions and I give You thanks for all the graces You have bestowed on them. I ask You to please increase grace in my soul through the merits of these saints, and I commit the end of my life to them by this special prayer, so that by virtue of Your goodness and promise, St Charles Lwanga and Companions might be my advocates and provide whatever is needed at that hour. Amen."

2) Venerable Augustus Tolton

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While not yet canonized, Venerable Augustus Tolton is on the path toward sainthood. He was the first-known black Catholic priest in the United States after his 1886 ordination.

Born into slavery and baptized Catholic in the United States, Venerable Tolton studied for the priesthood and was ordained in Rome. He was later sent to the United States to administer to the black community.

He needs one miracle to be named “blessed”.

Prayer for intercession and canonization of Venerable Augustus Tolton:

"O God, we give you thanks for your servant and priest, Father Augustus Tolton, who labored among us in times of contradiction, times that were both beautiful and paradoxical. His ministry helped lay the foundation for a truly Catholic gathering in faith in our time. We stand in the shadow of his ministry. May his life continue to inspire us and imbue us with that confidence and hope that will forge a new evangelization for the Church we love. 
Father in Heaven, Father Tolton’s suffering service sheds light upon our sorrows; we see them through the prism of your Son’s passion and death. If it be your Will, O God, glorify your servant, Father Tolton, by granting the favor I now request through his intercession (mention your request) so that all may know the goodness of this priest whose memory looms large in the Church he loved.
Complete what you have begun in us that we might work for the fulfillment of your kingdom. Not to us the glory, but glory to you O God, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are our God, living and reigning forever and ever.

3) Saint Josephine Bakhita

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Saint Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Sudan at age seven. Her owner brought her to Italy where she became a babysitter. She eventually felt drawn to the Catholic Church.

Her owners wanted to take her back to Sudan, but she refused. Slavery was illegal in Italy, so a court ruled her free. She later joined the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa religious community.

She is the patron saint of Sudan and human trafficking survivors.

Prayer for the intercession of Saint Josephine Bakhita:

“Saint Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured untold hardship and suffering. Once liberated from your physical enslavement, you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church.
O Saint Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery. Intercede with God on their behalf so that they will be released from their chains of captivity.
Those whom man enslaves, let God set free. Provide comfort to survivors of slavery and let them look to you as an example of hope and faith.
Help all survivors find healing from their wounds. We ask for your prayers and intercessions for those enslaved among us.

4) Venerable Pierre Toussaint

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Venerable Pierre Toussaint was a slave whose owners moved to New York. He was educated and made his own money as a hairdresser, even caring for his owners when they could not care for themselves. His owner freed him after she died in 1807.

Pierre attended Mass daily and was devoted to the Rosary. He and his wife, (whom he freed with his own money) cared for orphaned and needy children. They also adopted a daughter who died at the age of 14.

Pierre died in 1853. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral holds his remains in a crypt where only archbishops and cardinals are buried. Saint John Paul II declared him venerable in 1996.

Prayer for Venerable Pierre Toussaint’s canonization and intercession:

“Lord God, source of love and compassion, we praise and honor You for the virtuous and charitable life of our brother in Christ, Ven. Pierre Toussaint.
“Inspired by the example of our Lord Jesus, Pierre worshipped You with love and served your people with generosity. He attended Mass daily and responded to the practical and spiritual needs of friends and strangers, or the rich and the poor, the sick and the homeless of 19th century New York.
“If it is Your will, let the name of Ven. Pierre Toussaint be officially raised to the rank of Saint, so that the world may know this Haitian New Yorker who refused to hate or be selfish, but instead lived to the full commandments of heaven and the divine law of love – love for God and neighbor.
“By following his example and asking for his prayers, may we, too, be counted among the blessed in heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

5) Saint Kizito

Wikimedia Commons, Rsk6400CC BY-SA

Saint Kizito was the youngest of the 22 Ugandan martyrs.

King Mwanga II of Buganda burned him to death at age 13 after learning he was Christian. As he was burned alive, he recited the "Our Father." His last words were, "Goodbye my friends, we are on the right path."

Saint Kizito’s feast day is June 3. He is the patron saint of children and primary schools.

Prayer for Saint Kizito’s intercession:

"God of infinite goodness, you said that children should be allowed to come to you. We pray for children all over the world, especially for those in danger. That through the intersession of St Kizito, you will give voice to the voiceless and protection to our children, through Christ or Lord. Amen."

6) Servant of God Thea Bowman

Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, Servant of God, Facebook

Servant of God Thea Bowman was a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration and the first African-American woman to address the U.S. bishops’ Conference.

“In her role as consultant Sister Thea, an African-American, gave presentations across the country; lively gatherings that combined singing, gospel preaching, prayer, and storytelling. Her programs were directed to break down racial and cultural barriers,” her religious order states on its website.

“She encouraged people to communicate with one another so that they could understand other cultures and race.”

Prayer for Servant of God Thea Bowman’s intercession:

“Ever-loving God, who by your infinite goodness inflamed the heart of your servant and religious, Sister Thea Bowman with an ardent love for you and the People of God; a love expressed through her indomitable spirit, deep and abiding faith, dedicated teaching, exuberant singing, and unwavering witnessing of the joy of the Gospel.
Her prophetic witness continues to inspire us to share the Good News with those whom we encounter; most especially the poor, oppressed, and marginalized.
May Sister Thea’s life and legacy compel us to walk together, to pray together, and to remain together as missionary disciples ushering in the new evangelization for the Church we love.
Gracious God imbue us with the grace and perseverance that you gave your servant, Sister Thea. For in turbulent times of racial injustice, she sought equity, peace, and reconciliation.
In times of intolerance and ignorance, she brought wisdom, awareness, unity, and charity. In times of pain, sickness, and suffering, she taught us how to live fully until called home to the land of promise.
If it be your Will, O God, glorify our beloved Sister Thea, by granting the favor I now request through her intercession (mention your request), so that all may know of her goodness and holiness and may imitate her love for You and Your Church.
We ask this through Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

7) Saint Simon of Cyrene

Gerd EichmannCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Saint Simon of Cyrene helped carry Jesus’ cross on the road to Calvary. “Cyrenaica was a Roman province on the north coast of Africa and Cyrene was its capital city,” so history implies he was of African origin.

Saint Simon is the patron saint of passersby.

Prayer to Saint Simon of Cyrene

"Heavenly Father, whose most dear Son, as He walked the way of the Cross, accepted the service of Simon of Cyrene to carry his physical burden for him: grant us each the grace gladly to bear one another’s burdens, for the love of him who said, “As you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me,” your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen."

8) Servant of God Mary Lange

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Servant of God Mary Lange founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence. This religious community allowed African-American women to enter religious life.

They educated black Catholic children as their primary mission. The order also founded St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, which still exists today.

Prayer for Servant of God Mary Lange’s intercession

"Servant of God Mary Lange,
please pray for racial reconciliation and peace in the United States.
Please pray for all children, that they may know, love and serve God and their neighbor.
Servant of God, Mary Lange, please pray for us!"

Other black saints include Saints Augustine and Monica of Hippo, Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Saint Benedict the Moor, Saint Martin de Porres, and Saint Moses the Black.

All you holy men and women of God, pray for us!

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