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78 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed

from his slave status, after which he married Juliette Noel. He used his

considerable income to support charitable causes. He conducted a fun-

draising effort among his rich clients of differing religious persuasions to

build a Catholic orphanage. Mother Elizabeth Seton sent three sisters to

start the orphanage. He ministered personally to victims of a plague.

He labored to dispel religious and racial prejudice in the city. One of

his customers, Emma Cary, wrote about his dignity and Catholic witness:

His life was so perfect, and he explained the teaching of the

Church with a simplicity so intelligent and courageous that every-

one honored him as a Catholic. He would explain the devotion to

the Mother of God with the utmost clearness, or show the union

of the natural and supernatural gifts in the priest.


Pierre worked up to the last two years of his life before dying at age

eighty-seven in 1853. Along with many others, the New York newspapers

mourned his passing. The

New York Post

reported, “Toussaint is spoken of

by all as a man of the warmest and most active benevolence.” He was

buried with his wife Juliette and niece Euphemia in Old St. Patrick’s cem-

etery on Mott Street in New York.

Pope John Paul II declared him Venerable—an important step in

Toussaint’s cause for canonization—in December 1996. Since then his

body has been reburied in the crypt of the archbishops in St. Patrick’s

Cathedral in New York City. If canonized he would become the first black

U.S. canonized saint.

As a married man, he was able to show us how a spouse may admi-

rably fulfill God’s call to holiness. He was a true and heroic disciple of

Jesus Christ.

Scripture tells us that no sooner had our first parents sinned than God

hastened to promise them the hope of redemption. God loved us so much

that he sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us. In this chapter we review

the mysteries of Jesus found in the Gospels and doctrinal teachings about

him that were taught by early Councils of the Church. Venerable Pierre

6 Quoted in Boniface Hanley, OFM,

Ten Christians

(Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press:

1979), 34.