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° St. Frances Academy and more art by strikeWare

° St. Frances Academy, 2020
Augmented Reality | Digital Photograph

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This is a photograph of Saint Frances Academy, formerly known as The Baltimore School For Colored Girls. Prior to its establishment and beginning around 1813, Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange and Marie Balas operated a school in their home to teach young immigrant children in Baltimore. Father James Hector Joubert of the Society of St. Sulpice approached them in the mid-1820s to start a religious society of Black nuns, the Oblate Sisters of Providence. The charism mission of the Oblates is “with total trust in God's Providence, to bring joy, healing and the liberating, redemptive love of the suffering Jesus to the victims of poverty, racism and injustice despite contradictions, prejudice and pain.”

St. Frances Academy is located on Chase Street less than a ¼ mile from the Baltimore City Detention Center. Established in 1828, it has been educating Black children in Baltimore for nearly 200 years. Its role has expanded into a co-educational program, a neighborhood gathering place, a community and health center.

Further reading:

“Praying in the Shadows: The Oblate Sisters of Providence, a Look at Nineteenth-Century Black Catholic Spirituality.” by Thaddeus J. Posey

“Selected African American Educational Efforts in Baltimore, Maryland during the Nineteenth Century” by Dr. Brian Courtney Morrison

“St. Frances Academy: Success In The Shadow Of The City Jail” by Cynthia McIntyre

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