In Celebration of Black Catholic History Month

6 African Americans on the Path to Sainthood:

Profile 2 Venerable Pierre Toussaint


Venerable Pierre Toussaint was born a slave in Haiti and died a freeman in New York City. He is considered the father of Catholic Charities in New York — raising funds for the first Catholic orphanage and starting the city’s first school for Black children. He also helped to provide funds for a religious community of Black nuns, and played a vital role in providing resources to erect Old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Lower Manhattan.

He was a successful entrepreneur, hairdresser, and philanthropist. In December 1989, the remains of Pierre Toussaint were transferred to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where he is buried as the only lay person, alongside the former Cardinal-Archbishops of New York City. The cause for canonization of Pierre Toussaint comes from the Archdiocese of New York. His life reflects the parish ministry of Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul.

For more information on Venerable Pierre Toussaint’s life and the prayer for his canonization, click HERE.