these fascinating pages, popular author and speaker Deacon Harold
Burke-Sivers tells the gripping story of Augustine Tolton, who
valiantly overcame a series of seemingly insurmountable challenges —
birth into slavery, his father’s death, abject poverty, and even
being denied acceptance by every Catholic seminary in America — to
become the first black American priest.
the hardships placed on Fr. Tolton by a culture rooted in racial
hatred, he became a tireless messenger of the Gospel, plunging into
the Deep South where segregation was decreed by harsh laws,
penetrating even the hardest of hearts with the richness, beauty, and
truth of the Catholic Faith.
was a beacon of hope to black Catholics in the 19th
Century who were trying to find a home in the American Church.
He was a visionary who saw beyond race and politics, teaching that
the Catholic Church wants to free us not just from slavery, but from
slavery to sin.
great persecution, Fr. Tolton showed us that being configured to
Christ means emptying ourselves so that God can fill us, exposing the
weakest parts of who we are so that God can make us strong, becoming
blind to the ways of this world so Christ can lead us, and dying to
ourselves so we can rise with Christ.
who seek to be formed more perfectly to Christ have a role model in
Fr. Tolton, a persevering and holy man who sought above all the
salvation of souls.