Collection: Sr. Thea Bowman: Precious Lord

ARTIST: Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS


I don't try to make sense of suffering. I try to make sense of life...I try each day to see God's will...I console myself with the old Negro spiritual, 'Sooner will be done the troubles of this world. I'm going home to live with God.
―Sister Thea Bowman

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Sr. Thea Bowman, F.S.P.A., Ph.D., was born in the small rural town of Canton in Central Mississippi. Her grandfather was a slave; her father was a physician and her mother, a teacher. In 1965, Sr. Bowman received a B.A. in English, Speech and Drama from Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 1969, she received an M.A. in English and in 1972, a Ph.D. in English Language, Literature, and Linguistics; both degrees from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.


She has been a teacher in Blessed Sacrament School in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Holy Child Jesus High School in Canton, Mississippi, The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wisconsin and the Institute of Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana.


In her position as Consultant for Intercultural Awareness for the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, Sister Thea frequently works with children to help them grow in awareness of their gifts and of their cultural heritage. Through song, dance, poetry, drama and story, she communicates joy, freedom and pride, using traditional Black teaching techniques that are holistic, participatory and reality focused.


Sister Thea makes more than 100 public appearances each year, giving lectures, recitals, short courses, workshops, and conference presentations, spreading the message that people are gifted, that Black is beautiful, and that cross-cultural collaboration enriches both education and living.


In Nigeria, Kenya, Canada, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, New York to Florida, Mississippi to California, Louisiana to Illinois, thousands of people have worked with Sister Thea. She makes doers of watchers, makes people more aware of their own gifts and potentials, and puts races in touch with one another. Her ministry is a ministry of joy.


Sister Thea deservingly received her Doctor of Religion from Boston College in 1989. The following is a citation of a speech conferring her distinctions at the 1989 Boston College Commencement Ceremony.