It has come to our attention
that regarding the proposed canonization of Mother Henriette
DeLille that her ethnic identification has been Grossly Misrepresented
by the people in charge of such proposed canonization.
To wit: Mother Henriette DeLille
has been represented by the Sisters of the Holy Family, whose
diocese is in
New Orleans, Louisiana, to have been born as a native-born
was the daughter of Jean Delille Sarpy (SARPI), who was of
French and Italian birth; and her mother was of French. Spanish
and African Birth (in Louisiana, considered a French-Creole).
Therefore, when a person of French and Italian birth had offspring
with a gens de couleur libre in the 1800’s that offspring
was considered to be of Creole birth and not just and only
It follows that the Sisters
of the Holy Family in their misrepresentation of Mother Henriette
DeLille, in order to give all of her birth credit to the African-Americans,
are using the one-drop policy rule of the United States of
America, which has been outlawed legally as far back as 1975,
which before that time held that one drop of African
blood an African did make. So as you can see that
as of 1989, the one drop-policy was outlawed prior thereto.
We are also aware that the one-drop policy only
came to existence many years after the birth of Mother Henriette
DeLille, and perhaps even years after her death. That rule
came about almost 30 years after the Civil War of 1862 - 1864
when the South lost the Civil War and slavery was abolished;
and therefore wanted to give vengeance to all who had any
blood of the slaves in their veins.
Sisters of the Holy Family, New Orleans, La. Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.
To further that vengeance,
the United States Government and especially the Southern States,
legislated the racial identity of all Native-Born French Creoles
to that of Negro and Black. Racial identity is something inherent
to an individuald and should not be legislated by anyone.
We do not deny that Mother DeLille
has African blood as her ancestry and we are proud of that,
and we find no problem with that, but then that was only one
portion of her ancestry. Therefore Mother Henriette DeLille
by virtue of her ethnic makeup was of multiracial origin.
And when she was born, she was automatically a Gens de Colour
Libre, and in Louisiana that identification meant that you
were not just African but of various ethnic origins and came
under the meaning of being CREOLE.
To wit: A person born in
the New World of European and African ancestry - native to
the place. In other words A French-Creole American.
The definition of a French-Creole
American states that the person has French, Spanish, African
and Indian ancestry along with other various European ancestry
as the case may be. In the mid 1700’s and mid 1800’s
these various racial groups got together and had offsprings
which were comprised of the aforesaid racial groups.
We, as French-Creole Americans,
all with ancestry stemming from the late 1700’s and
early 1800’s in the state of
Louisiana, petition your most gracious entity, to have the
Sisters of the Holy Family and all others involved in the
proposed Canonization of Mohter Henriette Delille as Blessed
Saint, Cease and Desist the misidentification of Mother Henriette
DeLille as just and only Native-born African-American and
identify her as the French-Creole born American which she
truly was and still is.
We make this plea in order to avoid legal action against the
parties herein in a matter so sacred as this cause.
The Undersigned All Being French-Creole Descendant
and Catholics of the French Territory and State of Louisiana
The publication "No
Cross, No Crown," a book on the Sisters
of the Holy Family written by Sister Mary Bernard Deggs states
on page #5, the following: "The formation of a community
of women religious by free women of color was acceptable,
if no ignored, as long as the women were from well known and
prosperous families tied to influential members of the white
The Church fathers in New Orleans, Vicar General
Etienne Rousselon and Archbishop Antioine Blanc, understood
that family connection, relative wealth, and education were
fundamental to the successful establishment and continuation
of any such community. That had been the case in France for
centuries, and it stood to reason that a community of "creole
women or women born in the Americas" stood the best chance
for success, especially if they were free women of color,
if they were affiliated with city's more influential citizens."
This statement by the members of the sisters of the Holy family
verifies the ethnic origins of Henriette Delille.
Support the notion
that Henriette Delille should be called a native "French
Associates for the Preservation of Creole Cultural Heritage,
Post Office Box 43313
Los Angeles, CA 90043
March 7, 2005
Archbishop Alfred Hughes
Diocese of New Orleans and
Sisters of the Holy Family
New Orleans, Louisiana
Dear Archbishop Hughes and
Sisters of the Holy Family:
This letter comes to
you both as a last request that you cease and desist identifying Mother Henriette Delille as a Native
Born African American (Only) in your desire to canonize her as
a Saint of the Roman Catholic faith.You can refer to my
Petition (dated 1989) addressed to Pope John Paul of the Vatican, Rome, Italy in which I stated the reasons that Mother Delille should not be identified as a Native Born African American,
but as the Native Born French Creole American
in lieu of that a Free Person of Color that she was at the
time of her death.When Mother Delille
lived, she was identified as a Free Person of
Color and not an African-American.
A Native Born African American could only be someone who had come directly from Africa, such
as the slaves which were piled on ships for slavery purposes
of the Europeans and the white Americans.
It is beyond me that
you should continue the One Drop Policywhich has been outlawed as far back as 1975 in identifying
Mother Henriette Delille who lived from 1812 to 1862, which basically came about through the Jim Crow Laws of 1896, in which all multiracials were thrown in with the newly emancipated slaves
1865. If the greatest importance
in your minds is to focus on herAfrican ancestry
,(so that you can gain on the financial and political gains of the church and also make the many African-American nuns happy) then state so but also give her
other ancestries which are as follows - Italian and French ancestry from her grandfather, Jean Baptiste Delille Sarpy (Sarpi; Spanish ancestry from her mother, Marie Joseph Diaz;
French ancestry from her great great grandparent - Claude
Millions of Creoles
throughout America and all over the continent will be up in arms should this canonizaton go on
as you have published throughout all of the churches from the east
coast to the west coast; and I don’t think that you will be
their discontent and ou tcrying over your misidentification
of Mother Henriette Delille.
This will bring a blight to her canonization. So it is beyond me that you would want to go against history.I will await your decision
on this matter. I would rather not bring this issue to the public for your sakes. But should
this be necessary, you leave me no other avenues.
Mrs. Marion I. Ferreira,
President & Founder of
Associates for the Preservation
of Creole Cultural Heritage
cc: Pope John Paul,
Vatican, Rome Italy
Congress of Bishops
Los Angeles Times Newspaper
Congress of Racial Equality