Sr. Thea Bowman, (1937-1990), teacher, preacher, public speaker
By Tevin V. Williams
Sister Thea Bowman was born in Canton Mississippi in 1937 to a loving family. Although she was not born into slavery in the United States, her grandfather was a slave. Despite this and the time period, Sister Bowman’s father was a physician and her mother was a teacher. Surprisingly, she was born into a Methodist family and at the age of 9 years-old she asked to become a Catholic.
With her faith being guided by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, she started to honor her Catholic faith through her work and personal life. Sister Bowman earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Viterbo University, and then went on to complete her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in English at Catholic University of America. As a teacher she honored her Catholic faith by spreading God’s love through her work, and being a light to all. She taught in elementary school in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and then at a high school in Canton Mississippi. Going on to teach at the university level, she was a professor at Viterbo University, Catholic University of America, and Xavier University. After being an educator for 16 years, she was invited by the bishop of Jackson, Mississippi to become a consultant for intellectual awareness. Her role included bringing people together through various forms of singing, gospel preaching, prayer, and storytelling all aimed at breaking down the racial and cultural barriers. As a consultant, her “ministry of love” stretched internationally from Nigeria to Canada, all the way to New York. Sister Bowman was also highly influential in the publishing of the Catholic hymnal: Lead Me, Guide Me: The African American Catholic Hymnal. (The first of its kind made by the black community.)Continue reading “Black Americans on Their Way to Sainthood: Sr. Thea Bowman”