Archbishop to place freed slave on path to sainthood

Dec. 15, 2016


Dave Uebbing
Interim Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Denver
(303) 715-3230
[email protected]

Mass to launch canonization process of Julia Greeley
Sunday, Dec. 18, 8:30 a.m.
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
1530 Logan St., Denver, CO 80203

Download photos of Julia Greeley here

Julia Greeley

This is the only known photo of Julia Greeley. She is holding Marjorie Ann Urquhart. Marjorie’s mother told Julia she couldn’t have more children. Julia prayed for her, and the next year Marjorie was born.

On Sunday, Dec. 18, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila will open the cause for canonization of ex-slave Julia Greeley—known in her time as Denver’s “Angel of Charity”—during a Mass to be held at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 1530 Logan St, Denver, CO, 80203.

Born into slavery in Missouri in the mid-1800s, Julia Greeley made her way to Denver as a free woman around 1880 to serve as a housekeeper for the first territorial governor of Colorado, William Gilpin, and his new wife, Julia Gilpin.

She converted to Catholicism and lived an exemplary life of prayer, particularly in her devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Eucharist, and of service to her neighbors in the Five Points neighborhood and beyond.

Archbishop Aquila presented the case for Greeley’s potential sainthood at the annual gathering of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore in November.

The bishops voted unanimously to allow the archdiocese to proceed with the initial phase of the canonization process, which consists of investigating her life and virtues.

At the conclusion of the first phase of the canonization process, a report is sent to the Vatican for review, at which point it is up to the Pontifical Congregation for the Causes of Saints as to whether or not the process will continue.

The Julia Greeley Guild (, headed by Mary Leisring, has been working to spread awareness of Julia Greeley since 2011. As the director of Black Catholic ministry for the archdiocese, Leisring is particularly thrilled at the possibility of Julia Greeley’s canonization cause.

“She’s a model for me,” Leisring said. “We’re all called to be saints, and it just goes to show that an ordinary person can become extraordinary. For some of us, she’s already a saint.”

Media are cordially invited to cover the Mass. Please RSVP
Contact [email protected], or call (303) 945-9136.