FAIRFIELD—The Social Justice Committee of St. Anthony of Padua Parish extends an invitation to all to attend a viewing of the film, “Going Home Like a Shooting Star, Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood” on Sunday, November 5 at 2:30 pm in St. Anthony’s Parish Hall.
The free event, which is being held at the beginning of National Black Catholic History Month, will include the film, followed by a community conversation with wine and cheese and Fall refreshments available. Those wishing to attend should RSVP to the parish office (203.259.0358) by November 1.
Thea Bowman was the only African American member of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration when she joined the order in 1952 at the age of 15, having converted to Catholicism six years earlier. She transcended the prevailing racism of the period to leave a lasting mark on U.S. Catholic life. Before her death in 1990, Sister Thea, a teacher, musician, liturgist and scholar who made major contributions to the ministry of the Catholic Church toward African Americans, also helped found the National Black Sisters’ Conference to provide support for African-American women in Catholic religious life.
Just months before her death from cancer, Sister Thea spoke to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1989 from her wheelchair, and the bishops “powerfully and visibly moved, applauded her. When she finished they stood linking arms and singing as Sister Thea led them in the spiritual, ‘We Shall Overcome’”. Less than a week before her death, the University of Notre Dame announced that it would award Bowman the 1990 Laetare Medal. It was presented posthumously at the 1990 commencement exercises. She died on March 30, 1990, aged 52, in Canton, Miss., and was buried with her parents in Memphis, Tenn.
A cause for canonization was opened for Sister Thea by the Diocese of Jackson, Miss. in mid-2018, gaining her an official designation as a Servant of God, the first of the four steps toward sainthood. At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2018 Fall General Assembly, the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance indicated unanimous support for the advancement of Sister Thea’s canonization cause on the diocesan level.Thea Bowman flyer FINAL