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

In honor of Black History, we’ve put together eight black saints and holy people of God all Catholics should know about. Below are descriptions of their holy lives and a prayer for their intercession.

Here’s 8 black saints all Catholics should know about:

St. Charles Lwanga

Philip K, Flickr, Public Domain

St. 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 St. Charles Lwanga:

“Martyrs of Uganda, pray for the faith where it is danger and for Christians who must suffer because of their faith. Give them the same courage, zeal, and joy you showed, and help those of us who live in places where Christianity is accepted to remain aware of the persecution in other parts of the world.


Ven. Augustus Tolton

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

While not yet canonized, Ven. Augustus Tolton is on the path towards 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, Ven. 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 Ven. Augustus Tolton:

“O God, we give you thanks for your servant and priest, Fr. 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, Fr. 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, Fr. 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.


Source: Archdiocese of Seattle

St. Josephine Bakhita

Public Domain

St. Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Sudan at age 7. 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 actually 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 St. Josephine Bakhita:

“St. 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 St. 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.


Source: USCCB

Ven. Pierre Toussaint

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Ven. Pierre Toussaint was a salve 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 age 14.

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

Prayer for Ven. 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 for 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.


Source: Diocese of St. Petersburg

St. Kizito

Wikimedia Commons, Rsk6400, CC BY-SA

St. 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.”

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

Prayer for St. Kizito’s intercession:

“O Glorious Kizito, obtain for us, from our Lord, peace and unity, victor in temptation, comfort in sorrow, strength in adversity, health in weakness and the grace which we earnestly pray for now:

(mention your private intention).

“May we one day, enjoy with you, the imperishable glory of heaven. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs – pray for us!
O Martyrs of Uganda – pray for us!
St. Kizito – pray for us!”

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.


St. Simon of Cyrene


St. 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.

St. Simon is the patron saint of passersby.

Prayer to St. Simon of Cyrene

St. Simon of Cyrene,
help us to look upon each person as a gift from God.
Help us to carry our crosses as you helped carry Jesus’.
St. Simon of Cyrene, please pray for us!

Servant of God Mary Lange

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

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 Sts. Augustine and Monica of Hippo,  Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, St. Benedict the Moor, St. Martin de Porres, and St. Moses the Black.

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

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[See also: 14 Rare Depictions of Our Lord Jesus as a Black Man]

[See also: From Slave to Priest: 1st African-American Priest Could Be Canonized]

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