By Nina Abubakari, MPH, MBA, JD, FACHE
As we continue to grow, it is imperative that we recognize the foundation upon which we stand. The names of those we honor and whose commitment we continue to serve can be found on our health centers, including Thea Bowman.
Thea Bowman, the granddaughter of slaves, was born December 29, 1937 and became a Roman Catholic religious sister, teacher, and scholar who made a major contribution to the ministry of the Catholic Church with an unapologetic consciousness toward her fellow African Americans. While she celebrated the gifts of all people, Sr. Thea encouraged African Americans to proudly celebrate their own identity. According to published reports, Sr. Thea Bowman became an evangelist among her people, assisted in the production of an African American Catholic hymnal, and was a popular speaker on faith and spirituality in her final years. She helped found the National Black Sisters Conference to provide support for African-American women in Catholic religious institutes.
Her love of education and her pride and commitment to her African American heritage are also the embodiment of the foundation that bears her name. She spent her life in service to God by helping the less fortunate. More recently, Sr. Thea, who died March 30, 1990, has been designated a Servant of God, putting her line for canonization
Today, her commitment is evident throughout our centers—including the one that bears her name– and in our staff members who carry this unparalleled dedication out every day.