top of page


Venerable Henriette Delille

Fourth Sunday of Lent

"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (Jn 9:1-41)

Think about this: Who asks God why someone was born blind? Interestingly, Jesus does not give the disciples a theological dissertation on sin. Nor does Jesus explain that God created creation equally. On the other hand, Peter learned this lesson in a dream recorded in the Book of Acts. After the dream, Peter said, "God has shown me that I should not call any person profane or unclean" (Act 10:28). Later, Peter would reiterate this thought, "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality" (Acts 10:34).

However, I wonder why we still make distinctions as God's children. For example, Henriette Delille, who tried to respond to God's calling to join the religious life, met opposition because of systemic racism. Through faith, Henriette reached a pinnacle point in her life that helped her break racial barriers.

In 1834 Henriette experienced a profound conversion that cemented her call to vocation. After joining a religious community, she said, "I believe in God. I hope in God. I love. I want to live and die for God." She would later write the Rule of Life for the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Henriette, now called Venerable Sr. Henriette Delille, used for this religious order this motto, "One heart, one soul."

Let's avoid language that makes distinctions. Whether it's the language that comes through racial rhetoric or the insensitive individuals who define one's disability as a sin, we must see the glory of God in all of creation. Jesus said, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him" (Jn. 9:3). And this is what Sr. Henriette sought to do "bring back glory to God and the salvation of their neighbor by a charitable and edifying behavior." God's work is made visible not because of someone's gender, physical ability, or skin color. God's creation is visual because we know Jesus, The Light of the World.

How will you share Jesus, The Light of the World, with your friends this week?

** **Sr. Henriette Delille's quotes are taken from Black Catholics on the Road To Sainthood, Editor Michael R. Heinlein.

Author: Evang./Prof. Michael Howard, MACS,

Facilitator, University of Dayton, VLCFF,

The University of Notre Dame, McGrath Institute, STEP Online,

Lead Faculty and Course Designer "The Presence of Black Catholics in the Church Today and Tomorrow" Loyola Marymount University,

Founder of Eat the Scroll Ministry

47 views2 comments