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Sr Mary Antona Ebo inspires us to 'tell our story'.

Dr. Alice Prince reflects on a recent event commemorating the life and legacy of one of America's most prominent Black Catholic nuns.

(Catholic News Service/America Magazine)

Reflecting on a recent celebration of the life and legacy of Sr Mary Antona Ebo, FSM, I am moved by the indelible impact she left on the world as a beacon of light for Black Catholics. 

An event held on April 13, at St. Alphonsus Liguori "Rock" Catholic Church in St. Louis opened with a soul-stirring drum call that resonated deep within me, setting a reflective tone for the afternoon. The drumming was followed by Gwen Crimm's symbolic pouring of libation, inviting the Holy Spirit and preparing us to absorb the rich wisdom and heritage of Sister Ebo's remarkable journey.

Carolyn Yandell's soulful singing of “Steal Away” and Fr Art Cavitt’s unifying prayer further elevated the atmosphere, binding all attendees in a shared spiritual experience. Contributions from the mistress of ceremonies, Bonita Cornute, along with the soulful music from Minister Judith Jackson and the choir, added emotional depth to the occasion.

The event was thoughtfully structured around the “seasons” of Sister Ebo's life, each phase symbolizing significant periods of growth and challenge. From her foundational years in the springtime of her life to the winter—where she continued to sow seeds of love, faith, and joy—her journey illustrated a narrative of resilience, activism, and spiritual depth.

Sister Ebo was a trailblazer who broke racial barriers and stood firm in the face of adversity during the Civil Rights Movement. Her dedication, especially in overcoming illnesses and personal hardships, showcased her courage and deep faith. These stories underscore her relentless spirit and commitment to justice, serving as a powerful model for Black Catholics and all who advocate for equity and inclusion.

Her life was a compelling call to action, urging us to continue telling her story and those of her peers like Servant of God Thea Bowman. Both women witnessed and actively drove change, influencing the landscape for Black Catholics and the broader Church community. 

Celebrating Sister Ebo's life is a vibrant invocation for us to perpetuate her legacy of activism, faith, and healing.

Reflecting on last weekend’s event and Sister Ebo's life inspires me to embrace and disseminate the lessons of her journey. We must amplify the stories of figures like Sister Ebo and Sister Thea, who illuminate the path of faith and justice. Their enduring legacies encourage us to believe in our actions and to continue shaping a more inclusive, equitable, and faith-filled world.

I have to thank the committee for organizing such a marvelous event and telling Sister Ebo’s story. We can't let her story die. Moreover, we have to stay committed to telling our story. She is a part of all of us.

Dr. Alice Prince is a God-fearing Black mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, and proud Catholic. She is the founder of Catholic and Diverse, a consultancy dedicated to assisting Catholic schools in matters of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. As a college professor, author, and faith speaker, she brings a deep commitment to fostering understanding and unity within educational environments.

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