James, Alexander, and Patrick Healy

Did you know that the very first African American priests in the United States were three brothers born of a slave mother and fathered by a Georgia plantation owner?

The Healy Brothers: James, Alexander, and Patrick were sent north for their education and freedom. Because of the adverse racial climate in 19th century America, the Healy brothers had to be ordained in Europe, beginning with James in 1854; Alexander, in 1858; and Patrick, in 1864. James Augustine Healy later became our nation’s first African American bishop in Portland, Maine, in 1875. A year later, Patrick Francis Healy, became the highly regarded president of the Catholic institution, Georgetown University, here in Washington DC. Ironically, Georgetown did not admit students of color, until the mid-1900.

Healy Brothers, pray for us.