Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 1, 2021 / 15:01 pm
Venerable Augustus Tolton, the first widely recognized African-American priest, is a model for how to overcome racism and persecution, the Archbishop of Philadelphia said last week.
“The way Tolton internalized and processed hurt, rejection and injustice” shows “a way that we can do so ourselves,” Archbishop Nelson Pérez of Philadelphia said June 26 to a retreat of the racial healing commission of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, a Philadelphia suburb.
Fr. Tolton was born a slave in Missouri April 1, 1854 to Catholic parents, Peter Paul and Martha Jane.
Peter Paul escaped shortly after the beginning of the Civil War and joined the Union army, dying shortly thereafter. Martha Jane then escaped to Illinois in 1862 with Augustus and his siblings, Charley and Anne.