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Background on the Proposed
Canonization of Mother Henriette Delille

The Sisters of the Holy Family


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 African-American.

Henriette Delille, 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 native-born African-American.


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 and
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.


No Cross, No Crown:

Black Nuns in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans


Respectfully Submitted,

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 community.

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 Creole-American"

Associates for the Preservation of Creole Cultural Heritage, Inc.
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 or
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 in
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 Joseph

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 happy over
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
Interracial Voice
Multiracial Activist
CNN News
Los Angeles Times Newspaper
Congress of Racial Equality


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