Tuesday, November 19, 2013

National Black Catholic History Month: St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart

The St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart, commonly known as the Josephites, are a community of U.S. based priests which has been devoted to serving people of African descent since 1871.

The group originally began as the English Foreign Mission Society of Saint Joseph, which sent priests to the U.S. to educate newly-freed people of African descent after the U.S. Civil War.

When the mission reorganized as an American-based group in 1893, taking their current name, Father Charles Randolph Uncles was among the founders of the new society.

The Josephites have remained dedicated to their mission of serving exclusively people of African descent in the U.S. in urban and rural communities. They operate schools and parishes, mostly in the South, in six states and the District of Columbia. Since the 1990s, the Josephites have brought dozens of priests from Nigeria to serve in historically black parishes in the U.S. The Josephite Harvest, the society's publication, may well be one of the longest running Catholic publications in the U.S. The Josephite Pastoral Center is a resource for books and other items of use to Catholic ministries serving black Americans (I am particularly fond of the calendar, and purchase one each year).

Learn more about the Josephites at their website.

(Image via CatholicExchange.com)

Follow my National Black Catholic History Month tag for more information on black Catholic notables.

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