father tolton

Editorial | Father Tolton stands at the vortex of slavery and Catholicism

In the majority of the 1800s, some Americans considered it American to own people. Even a Supreme Court chief justice legitimized the abhorrent idea of human beings as property to be bought and sold.

Bishop Edward K. Braxton from the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., recently wrote about this unfortunate reality in "The Horizon Of Possibilities — The Catholic Church and the Racial Divide in the United States: Old Wounds Reopened."

Relative of Father Tolton’s owners shares story of family connection at drama on life of black priest

Actor Andrae Goodnight, far left, in the role of Father Augustus Tolton, embraced Frankie Maddox, a member of All Saints Parish in St. Peters, after a production of “Tolton: From Slave to Priest” at the parish Nov. 26. Father Don Wester, pastor of All Saints, explained to the audience after the play that a geneology search revealed that the family of Maddox’s late husband, Bob, owned numerous slaves, including the Tolton family. Frankie Maddox now prays for Father Tolton’s intercession daily for his canonization.

At the end of a drama on the life of Father Augustus Tolton, 91-year-old Frankie Maddox stood before the audience and revealed that her husband's family owned slaves — including Augustus Tolton.

It was a huge revelation to the audience, who had just finished viewing St. Luke Production's drama, "Tolton: From Slave to Priest" Nov. 26 at All Saints in St. Peters. The story recalls the priest's life, from being born into slavery in the small town of Brush Creek, Mo., to crossing the river to Quincy, Ill., where he eventually answered a calling to the priesthood.

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