Franciscan AdJUSTment Focus: Sister Thea Bowman

by Sister Kathleen on March 20, 2013

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy features Sister Thea Bowman as our March AdJUSTment focus.

“Maybe I’m not making big changes in the world, but if I have somehow helped or encouraged somebody along the journey then I’ve done what I’m called to do.”

These simple powerful words come from a treasure of the American Catholic church, Sister Thea Bowman.  A Franciscan, like us, Sister Thea wove together a love of the Gospel, simplicity and joy in life, strength of faith and her identity as an African-American woman.  She was born in Mississippi, attended Catholic school and was converted to Catholicism.  In time she answered her second call and became a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration.  She was the only black member in a white community, but she held strongly to her cultural identity.  It became her life’s work to inspire Black Catholics to assert their place of pride in the Church while urging the wider Church to be enriched by the gifts of culture and spirituality brought by the African-American community.  Her third call was to witness to faith in the face of the scourge of cancer.  Even from a wheelchair her bright African robes and bald head proclaimed an ongoing message of dignity and joy in being true to her calling.  Sister Thea shows us the greatness of knowing oneself in the sight of God and celebrating that knowledge.

Consider:  Have I been sensitive to and grateful for the spirit and gifts that others, particularly those of other cultures, bring to the Church?  Did I lend my own unique contribution to the People of God today?

Pray:  Father of us all, we praise You for Your presence, Your glory shining out in the members of Your Body, the Church.  Help us to rejoice in the beauty of all your children, we pray…

One thought on “Franciscan AdJUSTment Focus: Sister Thea Bowman”

  1. Sister Kathleen says:

    This is a little strange–commenting on my own article, but it’s amazing to me each time I hear someone here at St. Francis, Greenwood, MS speak about Sister Thea with first hand knowledge. She came here to the parish many times during the civil rights years. We hear of how beautifully she sang and how she called forth a voice of praise from every person. We hope to have a parish revival next spring during which there would be a one woman performance of the life of Sister Thea. That would be a blessing!

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