Pictured above, during the centennial year of 1912, former slaves who had worked and lived at Nazareth, along with their families, were invited to Nazareth to celebrate the congregation’s 100th anniversary.
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth’s belief in the importance of recalling and recognizing their history of enslavement is reported as part of a New York Times opinion piece on Catholic institutions and their reckoning with owning slaves.
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky, who owned 30 people at Emancipation, were among the first sisters to seek to make amends. They joined with two other orders — the Dominicans of Saint Catharine and the Sisters of Loretto — to host a prayer service in 2000 where they formally apologized for their slaveholding. In 2012, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth erected a monument at a cemetery where many of the enslaved people were buried. So far, they have identified three descendants of the people they once owned.
“Their contributions had been ignored,’’ said Sister Theresa Knabel, who researched the order’s history and reached out to descendants. ‘’We needed to know who they were, know their names, know their story and make them visible.”