Cause for the Canonization of 

Servant of God 

Demetrius Gallitzin

"Apostle of the Alleghenies"




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Nun, Contemporary Of Father Gallitzin, Also A Candidate For Sainthood

The Catholic Register - May 12, 2008

During his April 2008 visit to the United States of America, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Mass at Yankee Stadium marking the 200th anniversary of the elevation of the Diocese of Baltimore to the status of an Archdiocese. 

In 1808, the first Diocese in the United States was split to form four new suffragan Dioceses (all now Archdioceses in their own right):  Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Bardstown KY (Louisville).

As the first Diocese in the United States, Baltimore was the cradle of Catholicism in the new nation.  Baltimore is intimately associated with the life of the first Saint born in the United States, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.  The first male Saint from our country, Saint John Neumann, served in Baltimore as pastor of Saint Alphonsus Parish.  The Servant of God Father Demetrius Gallitzin, the second priest to be ordained in the United States, and the first to complete all of his seminary studies in this country, made those studies in Baltimore.  Baltimore is also the scene of the ministry of another candidate for Sainthood, the Servant of God Mother Mary Lange, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence.

Mother Mary Lange was a contemporary of the Reverend Prince Gallitzin, and like him was an immigrant to these shores.  Born in Haiti in 1784, she made her home in Baltimore in 1813, and became part of the large, vibrant community of French speaking Haitian Catholics who worshipped in the crypt chapel of Saint Mary’s Seminary on Paca Street.  It was there, with the cooperation of Sulpician Father James Hector Joubert, that she founded in 1829, the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first congregation of women religious of African descent.

Public education for African American children was illegal in Maryland until 1868.  Mother Mary Lange and her Sisters sought to redress this injustice by providing these children with a Catholic education.  Eventually, the Oblate Sisters of Providence would minister in 25 cities in the United States, Cuba, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and most recently, in Africa.  This year marks the 180th anniversary of the oldest continuing Oblate ministry, Saint Francis Academy in Baltimore.

Baltimore is the link in the lives and ministries of Father Gallitzin, Mother Seton and Mother Lange and Bishop Neumann.  Father Gallitzin was one of the first students at Paca Street.  Mother Seton and Mother Lange both professed their religious vows there.  And many years later, when Mother Lange’s community needed strong clerical support, it was Father John Neumann, later the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia, who came forward to help the Sisters persevere in their vocations.

The Servant of God Mother Mary Lange died in Baltimore on February 3, 1882, sustained by a deep faith that the Providence of God would never abandon her, nor the works she had founded.