Last All Saints’ Day, as the congregation of St. Ignatius sang the Litany of the Saints, I found myself prayerfully interjecting Mother Mary Lange. I, as many others, believe in the depth of our souls that having seen the face of God, she resides in one of his many mansions.
Documents are now in Rome in the hands of our Roman Postulator for submission to the Office of the Congregation of the Cause of the Saints. Archbishop O’Brien works to be in contact with our Roman postulator on his visits to the Holy See.
The recognition of her sanctity is realized and mirrored every day in the continuing virtuous and sacred lives and works of her daughters the Oblate Sisters of Providence as well as the sacred lives of The Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Mother Lange’s saintly call is evident in the works of her life and the sacredness of her peaceful death. It is even more evident in the countless lives that have been transformed through praying for healings and special favors through her blessed intercession.
While God calls us each to be saints, the trappings of our humanity often yield us neither impeccable nor perfect. Rome sees those that they recognize as saints as holy lives that manifest God’s special love. Many of these sacred souls suffered greatly and never looked back. Their lives were guided by the divine providence and the infallible influence of the Holy Spirit. How many of us will hear God say, “Go and sell everything that you own, and give your money to the poor … then come, follow me,” and do exactly that? Countless saints who have been recognized as well as many who have not been recognized have taken these words as an affirming inspiration.
Mother Mary Lange, like so many saints before her, did just that. She rose up, laid down her life before the Lord and offered God all that she possessed. She recognized that her life and her will were no longer her own. This profound encounter with God awakened the fire in her heart to a new way of proceeding. She raised the consciousness of many who were enslaved or saddled with less understanding of their circumstance and revealed their capacity to receive the divine grace. With a passion for social justice and a heart burning with the love of Christ, she helped many less fortunate to convert and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I believe that Mother Mary Lange chose the governance of divine providence because she realized the real-life circumstance of her calling. Her intentions for forming this sacred community of women of color while rooted in the great consolations were surrounded by oppressions. It was revealed that this calling could only be realized through a total dependence on God’s Divine love and wisdom.
Mother Lange watched those enslaved and illiterate. She realized they would never be able to achieve real internal reformation as long as they were not physically free and allowed to exercise rational thinking through education. The transforming powers of her core values, her passion and faith seeded her resilience to withstand obstacles that could have leveled a lesser being. She picked up her cross during an antebellum period when religious tolerance as well as anti-slavery sentiments was easily shaken. Well-educated, Catholic and speaking three languages, she knew that she possessed gifts that were needed to make real change in the lives of many.
The Oblate Sisters of Providence continue to live and proclaim the word of God through living and practicing the teaching of Christ based in Catonsville. They struggle daily to improve their living circumstances and improve the care of their infirmed. They pray continually that their trust in divine Providence will make their life giving needs realized. Come visit them and let them pray for your special favors.
Toni Moore-Duggan, president of the Mother Lange Board of Directors and a member of St. Ignatius Church