The importance of learning the stories of the enslaved people owned by the Jesuits

Enslaved people lived in the crowded log cabin in the left foreground of this picture. They built the white frame building, which served as the St. Regis Indian School in the 19th century, and later as a chapel for the enslaved. (SHMR)

Awareness of the Catholic Church’s—and the Jesuits’— role in slavery in the United States has grown in recent years thanks to reporting and research from journalists, univerisities and descendents. But there is still much that remains unknown about the enslaved people owned, rented and borrowed by the Catholic Church: How many of them were there? Who are their descendents? What were their day-to-day lives like?

Advertisement

The Slavery, History, Memory, and Reconciliation Project, a collaboration between the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States and St. Louis University, is working to uncover the untold stories of enslaved peoples. We talk with Jonathan Smith and Laura Weis from the project about what they’ve learned so far and what they hope to achieve.

In Signs of the Times, we break down the controversy surrounding Cardinal Robert Sarah’s new book on celibacy and what Pope Benedict’s role is in it. We also look at how Catholic bishops are advocating for refugee resettlement on the state level and a new marriage prep program in Spain.

Thoughts on the show? Join the discussion with other Jesuitical listeners in our Facebook group. Also, thank you to everyone who has responded so far for our call for new Patreon supporters. We can’t do it without your support.

Links from the Show:

Slavery, History, Memory and Reconciliation
Benedict XVI has asked Cardinal Sarah to have his name removed from the book on priestly celibacy
Texas Catholics decry Governor’s decision to spurn refugees
Minn. Catholic, Lutheran bishops' open letter backs refugee admission
Catholic church in Spain launches years-long marriage training for couples

What’s on tap?

The Chilton, as recommended by listener Isaiah Lucio Lopez.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., from June 2001: William Emmett LeCroy, 50, on Tuesday would be the sixth federal inmate executed by lethal injection here this year. (CNS photo/Andy Clark, Reuters)
U.S. bishops call the application of capital punishment “completely unnecessary and unacceptable.”
Kevin ClarkeSeptember 22, 2020
Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Father Tony Flannery (CNS photo/Paul Haring/CNS photo/Irish Catholic)
The C.D.F. said today: ‘We did everything possible to dialogue with Father Flannery. It wasn’t always easy.’
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 22, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic is adding to the financial woes of Catholic schools in inner cities. But better management and creative fundraising may save them, writes Lance L. Lee, a parent of two children in Catholic schools.
Lance LeeSeptember 22, 2020
Sixth-graders sit at their desks on the first day of classes of the new academic year at Our Lady of Victory School in Floral Park, N.Y., on Sept. 8. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
With many public schools still in virtual mode, parents are taking a new look at Catholic education. But Michael O’Loughlin reports that the reprieve from declining enrollment may be temporary.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 22, 2020