Sr. Mary Roger Thibodeaux, noted 'Black power' nun, dies at 86

Sr. Mary Roger Thibodeaux, a veteran member of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and a leading Catholic light of the 20th-century Black freedom struggle, has died in Pennsylvania. At the time of her passing on March 11, she resided at Paul’s Run Retirement Center in Philadelphia and was eight days from her 87th birthday. No cause of death was released.

Her order, founded by Katharine Drexel to serve Native and African Americans, announced the news on Tuesday. It was first shared by her fellow Black SBS sister, Beulah Martin.

“My friend, sister, and woman of God, Sr. Mary Roger Thibodeaux, SBS went home to God early this morning,” she posted on Facebook. “Please pray for her family, SBS family friends, and especially the sisters at Paul's Run. May she continue to rest in heavenly peace.”

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Nate Tinner-Williams

Nate Tinner-Williams is the co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger.

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