The cause for canonization for Venerable Henriette Delille, who could become the first native-born African American saint, was addressed recently during a Summer Speaker Session presented by the African American Catholic Center for Evangelization (AACCFE).Sister of the Holy Family Laura Mercier, of the New Orleans-based religious order founded by Mother Delille, was the main speaker for the presentation Aug. 11 at St. Eugene Church in South Los Angeles. The Sisters of the Holy Family have operated and served at elementary and high schools mainly in Louisiana and Texas; locally they staffed Regina Caeli High School, and St. Albert the Great and Our Lady of Victory Elementary Schools in Compton.A large number of the nearly 200 in the audience at St. Eugene were taught by the Sisters of the Holy Family. To their delight, Sister Mercier shared many photos of former students, including Clare Davidson, a parishioner of St. Brigid in Los Angeles who graduated from St. Mary’s High School in New Orleans.Sister Mercier made an elaborate presentation on Mother Delille, a freeborn woman of African descent in 19th-century New Orleans, who by 1836 had inspired a small band of women to assist the sick and dying and to catechize the uninstructed among her people. By 1841, this group of pious women were both encouraged and recognized by the Church, and the Sisters of the Holy Family were founded in 1842.By 1851, Mother Delille had personally purchased a home for these women to live in community and further their ministry. Upon her death in 1862, Henriette Delille was known as one “who for the love of Jesus Christ had made herself the humble servant of salves.” This simple prayer guided her life: “I believe in God. I hope in God. I love. I want to live and die for God.” Sister Mercier then recounted the process for Mother Delille’s sainthood, initiated in 1988. In 2005, her life was investigated by the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ tribunal, and an alleged miracle attributed to her intercession tried in the Galveston-Houston Tribunal. In 2007, the Positio (a compilation and defense of all documents) was completed, and in March 2010, Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood cause of Mother Delille, declaring that she had lived a life of "heroic virtues."While the Sisters and Mother Delille’s supporters are both enthusiastic and optimistic that sainthood will be attained, Sister Mercier acknowledged that the process for sainthood is very costly, and that Hurricane Katrina and other economic factors have left the Sisters in need of assistance to continue the cause. In response, Anderson Shaw, AACCFE executive director, asked the audience to contribute financially to the cause for Mother Delille’s canonization, and promised that the AACCFE would match the funds collected. In all, $500 was collected and Shaw presented Sister Mercier a check for $1,000. Sister Mercier thanked the audience and concluded her presentation with the Prayer for the Beatification of Venerable Henriette Delille: O good and gracious God, You called Henriette Delille to give herself in service and in love to the slaves and the sick, to the orphan and the aged, to the forgotten and the despised. Grant that, inspired by her life, we might be renewed in heart and in mind. If it be your will, may she one day be raised to the honor of sainthood. By her prayers, may we live in harmony and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. For more information, visit and{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0913/delille/{/gallery}