Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman (1937-1990) joined the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wisconsin, when she was fifteen years old. Bowman developed a deep appreciation for her identity as fully Black and fully Catholic and became a poet, preacher, master teacher, vocalist, evangelist, and prophetic voice for change and renewal across the United States.
She earned her master's degree and doctorate at the Catholic University of America, then taught at CUA, Viterbo College, and Xavier University.
Just before her death in 1990, the University of Notre Dame announced that Bowman would receive the Laetare Medal, which is given to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”
Bowman’s cause for canonization was endorsed by the US bishops in 2018 and is ongoing.