Watch CBS News

Freed Slave's Remains To Be Entombed At Denver Cathedral

By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) - Before the bells ever rang at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, the only person to ever be interred was doing God's work in the community.

SAINT'S TOMB 5PKG.transfer_frame_360
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver (credit: CBS)

"Denver went through a really hard time in the 1883 huge crash of the silver mining industry. Julia went around and would take medicine, food, clothes coal to poor people she knew about," David Uebbing, the Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Denver, said.

Julia Greeley was a freed slave and a worker for the Colorado territory's first governor.

SAINT'S TOMB 5PKG.transfer_frame_990
(credit: David Uebbing)

"She would be seen around the streets and alleyways of Denver with a little red wagon carrying these things for the poor people," Uebbing said.

Wednesday, beneath the eyes of all the angels and saints, workers installed a marble tomb at the front of the church. It will hold the remains of Julia Greeley; the woman who may be Colorado's first saint.

SAINT'S TOMB 5PKG.transfer_frame_480
(credit: CBS)

Uebbing explains why they are doing all of this work to protect her remains.

"They are still sacred. They still have a dignity to them," he said.

Uebbing, is one of many in Denver's Catholic community that believe Julia was more than just one of God's children, he believes she could be a saint. He helped start the long process of getting her canonized.

SAINT'S TOMB 5PKG.transfer_frame_1470
(credit: CBS)

While the community waits, Julia's remains were moved inside the Cathedral where people can come to pay their respects to Denver's angel of mercy.

"Even though we're going through the process of canonization, she'll always be my saint," Mary Leisring, the President of The Julia Greeley Guild, said.

If you would like to see the tomb yourself, you can go to the Cathedral on June 7. The Basilica is having a mass to honor the life of Julia Greeley on the 100th anniversary of her death.

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.