Mother Mary Lange O.S.P.
Mother Lange was born to a wealthy family around 1784 in what is now Haiti. She, along with hundreds of others, fled that country in the late 18th century when a revolution occurred. By 1818 and perhaps even earlier, Mother Lange was educating Black children in her own home in Baltimore and at her own expense with another female refugee. At the time, there was no public education for Blacks in Baltimore. In 1828, with the help of Sulpician Father James Joubert, S.S., Mother Lange and two other Black women started the first Black Catholic school in the Catholic Church in America. A year later, three Black women and Mother Lange pronounced vows to become the first religious order of women of African descent. In 1829, Mother Lange became the first mother superior of the order. Despite facing discouragement, racism and a lack of funds, Mother Lange continued to educate children and meet the total needs of the Black Catholic community. She died on February 3, 1882 and is buried at the New Cathedral Cemetery on Old Frederick Road. Today the Oblate Sisters of Providence now number 125 sisters, 20 associates, and 16 Guild Members. Their motto: Providence will Provide.