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Thea Bowman

From the beginning of her teaching career until the end of her public minisny, mu­sic was the substance of Thea Bowman’s wit­ness to the world. Although her formal re­search for her doctoral degree dealt with Ren­aissance literature and philosophy, her endur­ing contribution to scholarship within the Ro­man Catholic Church and within the fields of Africana Studies, is her reliance on the wisdom and redemptive power of Black Sacred Song to teach, inspire, correct, challenge and transform all who would seek to “walk together” on the journey from here to heaven. At the time of her last great public perform­ance – at the 1989 summer meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops – she began her remarks by singing, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” That song was her prophetic challenge to the rhetorical question, “what does it mean to be Black and Catholic?”

Essay and Prayer by Joseph A. Brown, SJ