Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Pierre Toussaint

All of us need a little help and then a little luck to make some success of our life and to be helpful to others.  Pierre Toussaint got a little help and had a little luck.  He ended up buried under the main altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.  He started out as a Haitian slave of Jean Berard.  Berard taught him how to read and write. It was a crime to teach slaves how to read or write in the United States.  That was the little bit of help.  Then the luck.  There was a slave revolt in Haiti.  Berard and family fled to New York City and tool their slave with them.  Berard died and Toussaint, being able to read and write studied and became a hairdresser to the rich, to support the Berard family.  Mrs. Berard freed Pierre just before she died.  That was a little more help.  Pierre married.  With his money he purchased the freedom of Haitian slaves, and as refugees in New York, he found them jobs and gave them money.  The Toussaints cared for abandoned children, helped open a school to teach children a trade, helped found the first Catholic school for black children in New York City, and an orphanage with Mother Seton.  Church hierarchy get buried under the altar of famous cathedrals.  And then there is Toussaint.  So what are we all doing with the help and luck that came our way?

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