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Comments about Father Sebastian Stutts, C.P. (1846-1924) urge Passionists to contemplate the long time relationship with Black Catholics during the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century.

In The Eighteenth Annual Review of St. Frances’ Orphan Asylum operated by the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Normandy, Missouri. It was a school for “helpless deserted colored orphans” (as they were called at the time) from the St. Louis, Missouri area. Below is from the historical sketch:

“The Oblate Sisters and the orphans under their charge are especially blessed in having for their Chaplain the Rev. Father Sebastian, C.P., in who they have always found a kind father and invaluable friend. It was under his Rectorship of [the Passionists at Our Lady of Good Counsel Monastery] Normandy Monastery ten years ago that the Oblate Sisters first came to Normandy and now they gratefully acknowledge that much of their success is due to the generous encouragement he gave them.

Father Sebastian is a man of splendid physique and deeply spiritual nature. As a preacher he is excelled by few in his Order and his oratorical powers find expression with equal facility both in the German and English language. Such is the force and unction with which he speaks that those who have heard him say the flow of his eloquence is irresistible.”

Diane Batts Morrow published Persons of Color and Religious at the Same Time: The Oblate Sisters of Providence, 1828—1860 [University of North Carolina Press, 2002]. When historians continue to study the development and ministry of this important religious order of Black Catholic women it would be most interesting to ascertain Father Stutts’ relationship with them. Chances are Stutts and the Oblate Sisters of Providence crossed paths when the former was sent to St. Joseph’s Monastery, Baltimore, Maryland. Burned down in 1883, Father Stutts raised money to rebuild the monastery.

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