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Martha Jane Chisley Tolton

While the life of pioneering priest Father Augustus Tolton is rightly being elevated such that he is on track for sainthood, his brave, stalwart mother, Martha Jane Chisley has received little recognition. A courageous and tenacious woman, she saved her son and her other two children from a life of slavery and fought her whole life to create the opportunities Augustus needed to pursue his vocation as the first recognized African American priest. She did it for him. She did it for the people in her community.

To learn more, download our resource packet. Women Witnesses for Racial Justice resource packets include:

  • Biography/Essay
  • Questions for reflection and conversation
  • Original art by Chloe Becker
  • Prayer Service
  • Suggestions for taking action in your community


Artist: Chloe Becker. Comissioned by FutureChurch.