Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA)

Modern Lives. Sacred Traditions.

Sister Thea Bowman's Story

Sister Thea


Two thousand and fifteen marked the 25th anniversary of Sister Thea's homegoing. Sister Thea's celebratory Mass was held on March 30, 2015 in Mary of the Angels Chapel in La Crosse. Music was provided by the Viterbo University Concert Choir. Learn more and watch Mass at Sister Thea Bowman Day



Cause for Canonization
In February 2018, the Diocese of Jackson in Mississippi announced that it will begin researching the life, writings and works of Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Thea Bowman. This is the preliminary step to opening her cause for canonization but does not officially open her cause.

In 2017 Sister Thea was incorrectly identified as a Servant of God, with her cause for canonization open. This is incorrect information posted to Wikipedia and cited in a books and articles. Efforts have been made to correct the Wikipedia post.

At this time, while FSPA is not pursuing the canonization of Sister Thea, we will work to support the Diocese of Jackson's efforts by opening our archives as their research begins. 

About Thea
Born December 29, 1937, in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Thea was reared as a Protestant until at age nine when she asked her parents if she could become a Catholic.

Gifted with a brilliant mind, beautiful voice and a dynamic personality, Sister Thea shared the message of God's love through a teaching career. After 16 years of teaching, at the elementary, secondary and university level, the bishop of Jackson, Mississippi, invited her to become the consultant for intercultural awareness.

In her role as consultant Sister Thea, an African-American, gave presentations across the country; lively gatherings that combined singing, gospel preaching, prayer and storytelling. Her programs were directed to break down racial and cultural barriers. She encouraged people to communicate with one another so that they could understand other cultures and races.


In 1984, Sr. Thea was diagnosed with breast cancer. She prayed "to live until I die." Her prayer was answered, and Thea continued her gatherings seated in a wheelchair. In 1989, the U.S. bishops invited her to be a key speaker at their conference on Black Catholics. At the end of the meeting, at Thea's invitation, the bishops stood and sang "We Shall Overcome" with gusto.

Thea lived a full life. She fought evil, especially prejudice, suspicion, hatred and things that drive people apart. She fought for God and God's people until her death in 1990.

Thea Prayer Card (pdf file)

Prayer Request