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Baltimore Trailblazer Could Be First Black Saint

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Mother Mary Lange Catholic School in Baltimore is celebrating the path its trailblazing founder has taken toward sainthood.

Today is the anniversary of Mary Lange's death and the school had a mass in her honor.

Lange is a prominent female figure in education who has greatly impacted Baltimore—and she's in line to be named the first Black saint in the United States.

In honor of the 140th anniversary of her feast day, Archbishop William Lori and the Oblate Sisters have dedicated to her the chapel in the first new Catholic school built by the Archdiocese of Baltimore in nearly 60 years.

"She's a great pioneer, great woman of courage, great educator . . . and I couldn't think of a better role model or more appropriate person to name the school after," Lori told WJZ.

The trailblazing Catholic Black woman was born in Santiago, Cuba, and immigrated to Baltimore in the early 1800s.

"She opened up a little school in her home in Fells Point . . . by and by founded a religious order and opened up what is today, Saint Frances Academy," Lori said.

Lange founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the only African American community in the world.

"She helped a lot of unfortunate people to help them to get the education they needed, and that is something I hope to do one day," Jaylah Golder, an eighth-grade student, said.

Lange continues to inspire future generations to follow in her footsteps.

"It's very nice to see an African-American woman to love Jesus and to not let anyone stop her even though all of the adversities that she faced," Golder said.

The Vatican is currently reviewing Lange's cause for canonization to Sainthood.

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