Pierre Toussaint Closer to Sainthood

21 Dec 1996

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican took another step this week toward declaring a Haitian-born slave the United States' first black saint.


Pope John Paul II attended a ceremony at the Vatican on Tuesday to present the decree declaring the ``heroic virtues'' of Toussaint....``The decree means ``Pierre Toussaint, more than any of us, lived ... in an outstanding Christian way,''...(snip)

Toussaint worked for a well-educated, religious Catholic family in Haiti that brought him to New York when they fled an anti-slavery uprising.

Living with the family as a domestic servant, Toussaint learned to read and write. He also worked as a barber and was allowed to keep some earnings. After his owner died, the widow became impoverished and Toussaint supported her. The widow freed him before she died in 1807.

Toussaint then married a woman from Haiti. Until his death in New York City in 1853, he worked with orphans, the poor and the sick, both black and white, Molinari said.


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