Mary Alice Chineworth
Born July 16, 1917 in Rock Island, Illinois
Member and Former Director of the
Oblate Sisters of Providence
Sister Mary Alice Chineworth is a member and former director of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the nation’s first order of black nuns.
As a lifelong educator, activist, and seasoned leader of the country’s historic first order of black nuns, Sister Mary Alice Chineworth has played a major role in developing the minds and spirits of countless black children. Inspired by her kindergarten teacher at age four, she felt the call to religious life. Much to her surprise, when she had grown old enough to express a formal interest in joining her teacher’s religious order, she was rejected because of the color of her skin. She would be rejected once more before discovering and subsequently joining the Oblate Sisters of Providence, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Chineworth as a young woman
Beginning in 1973, she held several high level positions within the Order of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, finally attaining the rank of Superior General in 1989. She has been consistently outspoken in urging the church to more actively welcome the advancement of African Americans and women.Like many other religious orders, the Oblate Sister of Providence are struggling to attract young people to their ranks. Still, Sister Mary Alice perseveres, “As long as there are poor children—disadvantaged, marginalized children—to educate, we will be there.
Article in the Chicago Tribune
Roundtable discussion with Mary Chineworth
URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/chineworthmary