The Sister Thea Bowman Society for Racial Solidarity

Following the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd this past summer, members and some staff at Saint Agnes began meeting to discuss how to begin having conversations and promote awareness of the issues of racism within our church and community.  From this came bi-weekly resources to the community on various topics ranging from racism in our church, the topic of racial solidarity, and individual reflections from members of the community.  Additionally, an Advent resource featuring reflections from parish members, school students and staff, and parish staff was created and distributed as well.  After months of planning and discussion, a formalization of this group took place with the agreement of a name:

The Sister Thea Bowman Society for Racial Solidarity

Through discussions and prayer, two pieces continued coming up.  First, there was a desire for the name and mission to focus on the goal of Racial Solidarity.  From the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, solidarity is seen as:

Solidarity highlights in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person, the equality of all in dignity and rights, and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity.

Second, the idea of choosing a patron figure to serve as the inspiration for the mission moving forward came up.  On this, the group chose Sister Thea Bowman, a prominent figure in lifting up the importance of African American Catholics and the gifts they bring to the Church.  It is our hope that Saint Agnes is only one of numerous chapters striving to build solidarity with our black brothers and sisters in our church and community.

This page will serve as a hub for resources put forward from the Saint Agnes chapter.  Here you can learn more about our patron, Sister Thea Bowman, as well as access the multiple other resources being put out to the parish.

Please Take Our Survey

Parishioners of Saint Agnes – we need your help!  As we pray and evaluate our next steps, we want to get the pulse of the parish when it comes to the issue of racial justice.  Please consider taking a few moments to take this survey to help us in this endeavor.  You can find our survey here.

Contact Us

Do you have a question about our mission?  Would you like to recommend a resource?  Are you interested in joining?  Please click here to contact us.

Born December 29, 1937, in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Thea was reared as a Protestant until at age nine when she asked her parents if she could become a Catholic.

Gifted with a brilliant mind, beautiful voice and a dynamic personality, Sister Thea shared the message of God’s love through a teaching career. After 16 years of teaching, at the elementary, secondary and university level, the bishop of Jackson, Mississippi, invited her to become the consultant for intercultural awareness.

In her role as consultant Sister Thea, an African American, gave presentations across the country; lively gatherings that combined singing, gospel preaching, prayer and storytelling. Her programs were directed to break down racial and cultural barriers. She encouraged people to communicate with one another so that they could understand other cultures and races.

In 1984, Sr. Thea was diagnosed with breast cancer. She prayed “to live until I die.” Her prayer was answered, and Thea continued her gatherings seated in a wheelchair. In 1989, the U.S. bishops invited her to be a key speaker at their conference on Black Catholics. At the end of the meeting, at Thea’s invitation, the bishops stood and sang “We Shall Overcome” with gusto.

Thea lived a full life. She fought evil, especially prejudice, suspicion, hatred and things that drive people apart. She fought for God and God’s people until her death in 1990.

Taken from the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration here.


Podcast Title Link
Commonweal Magazine – A Response to Racism w/ Fr. Bryan Massingale, SJ
The Reckoning


Parish Reflections

Reflection Title Link
Deacon Ned Berghausen – A Reflection on Kentucky Catholicism and the Sins of Slavery & Racism
Will Ousley – Having the Uncomfortable Conversations
Racial Justice Advent Reflection Book



Documentary Title Link
KET – Facing an Uncomfortable Truth



Article Headline Link
Archbishop Lori – How church teaching can help explain why ‘Black Lives Matter’
Br. Ken Homan, S.J. – Four Ways for White People to Challenge White Apathy
Dr. Aisha White – What is Race? Having the Conversation With Young Children
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church – The Principle of Solidarity
  • Panel discussion, “Responding to Racism in the Archdiocese of Louisville” on  March 7th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. via Zoom.  The panel includes Major Paul Humphrey (Saint Agnes), Jacqui White, (mother of Sacred Heart Academy student), Anice Schervish Chenault (St. William), Mukesha Eduige (Saint Agnes) Monica Hill (St. Augustine, Lebanon) moderated by Debbie Yetter of the Courier Journal.  You can view this discussion here.
  • Deacon Dunn Cumby from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City speaking on “The Historical Perspective of Racism in the American Catholic Church” on Sunday, March 21 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. via Zoom.  You can register here.

The Record (Archdiocese of Louisville): Reflection on racism takes shape at parish –