Black Catholic History: Julia Greeley

At Least We’re Here is a book club of 10 women who read only Catholic women authors.  Read more here

We have never actually read about Julia Greeley.

Julia lived in Denver from the time she moved here from Missouri as an ex-slave until she died in 1918 on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which happened to be her beloved devotion.  She arrived not knowing her birth date or even her age and blinded in one eye by the whip of a slave owner.

This is the only known photo of Julia

This is the only known photo of Julia

Gina indexed the biography of Julia Greeley!

Instead we have a more interesting connection to her recently published story which was written by Fr. Blain Burkey, O.F.M., Cap.  One of our members, Gina, is a professional indexer, which means she breaks down all the subjects in a book or document into the index you see in the back.  Gina was honored to be chosen to index the 2011 book “In Secret Service of the Sacred Heart: Remembering the Life and Virtues of Denver’s Angel of Charity, Julia Greeley, O.F.S.” and she wrote about it in this guest post.

I have been to Julia’s grave at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, CO

Next time I go I’ll be sure to get a photo for you! Growing up in Denver I’m sure I walked on or near some of the same spots where she traveled the streets and alleyways, dropping off items needed by poor families but doing so anonymously so as not to hurt anyone’s pride.  I am even very sure my Grandma Sara’s parents knew about her as they were parishioners at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, not far from Julia’s parish, Sacred Heart.  Maybe they even saw her or met her at one time!

The National Black Catholic Congress site has a page dedicated to her. 

They tell of many acts of love and charity Julia regularly gave, one of which was to gather the cast off dresses of rich women and give them to poor single working women so they could attend social gatherings and church without shame.  Julia had a deep and holy sense of protecting others from shame and wounded pride.

Denver’s 9News aired this report earlier this year.


What’s Been Happening Around Here

The last time we got together

for a book discussion we had read Traveling in Southern France which I wrote a little about here.

I mentioned that an old time (not OLD old) member had moved away and we had a new baby.  Unfortunately for us, Amanda had the baby and she’s the one who moved away, so we no longer have Amanda or a baby!

Dianne's newest grandbaby

Dianne’s newest grandbaby

Amanda and baby at yoga class

Amanda and baby at yoga class

Amanda happens to be Dianne’s daughter

so baby Eva is Dianne’s most recent granddaughter!  All will soon be fine again because Brianne is expecting—so more babies (baby I mean).

Now Dianne has stayed busy.  Right before she went to visit and took the photos above we met at the Highlands Tavern in Denver for her 60th birthday celebration!

No book to discuss--just birthday lunch and cake to eat

No book to discuss–just birthday lunch and cake to eat

You can’t see it down there on the end (by Dianne on the left)


Jean baked a scratch cake AND it was chocolate.

It was so delicious that after we sent the waitress back to the kitchen with a piece she came back and copied Jean’s phone number so she could get the recipe.  That adorable girl on the right is not in book club but we were thrilled to have her join us; she’s a budding entrepreneur and told us all about plans to expand her mom Laura’s (front left) gluten free bakery business.

Celeste gets out to lunch where she won't have to clean up after all of us!

Celeste gets out to lunch where she won’t have to clean up after all of us!

Here are Celeste (L) and Dianne (R) –aren’t they gorgeous?  How old/young is your book club?  Do you have any babies around?

Jean’s High Altitude Chocolate Cake

Quick, Moist Chocolate Cake/ High Altitude Recipe
From Mrs. Haney of North Denver, mother of 10  (1980’s)

2 c. flour
1 3/4 c.  sugar
2 tsp. soda (or slight bit less)
1/4 or 1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. oil
1 c. buttermilk  (can make your own by putting about 3 tbsp. lemon juice
or vinegar in 2% or whole or even skim milk–let sit 4 minutes)
2 eggs (or 1 whole egg plus 1 egg white)
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. baking cocoa
Mix and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes in a 9 X 12 greased and floured baking pan.
(Batter may seem thinner than other cake batters with the water and oil, but it comes out great!)
The Denver Post had a similar recipe in 1990, and added the following baking variations:
bake 2  9-inch round pans in 375 oven 30 minutes,    OR  cupcakes for 20 minutes.

Black Catholic History Month: Brush Creek Cemetery

At Least We’re Here is a book club made up of women who read only Catholic Women Authors. See us here

While researching a little about Brush Creek MO, birthplace of America’s first black priest

which we read about in From Slave to Priest by Sister Caroline Hemesath, I found this gem of a priest, Fr. Daren Zehnle and his blog, Servant and Steward.  Father Zehnle is a priest of the Springfield, IL diocese and is championing the cause of Fr. Tolton’s canonization.

One of the posts I found while digging around (mmm, I know) had this wonderful photo of Bishop Paprocki meandering through the slave’s graves, probably praying for their souls, in the Brush Creek Catholic slave cemetery.  I told here a little more about Brush Creek.

Illinois' Bishop Paprocki on a pilgrimage to Brush Creek, birthplace of Fr. Augustine Tolton

Illinois’ Bishop Paprocki on a pilgrimage to Brush Creek, birthplace of Fr. Augustine Tolton

I find it so appropriate that Black Catholic History month falls in November

which happens to also be the month that Catholics around the world devote to praying for the souls in the Body of Christ who have passed on to judgement.

Father Zehnle printed this quote from Saint Damien of Molokai (one of my children’s name saints!):

“My greatest pleasure is to go there [the cemetery] to say my beads, and meditate on that unending happiness which so many of them are already enjoying.”

Consecrated Virgin Living in the World Featured in Denver Catholic Register!!

Consecrated Virgin Living in the World Featured in Denver Catholic Register!!

Our book club member Celeste Thomas at her Consecration Mass at Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception 10 years ago.

Read more about it here!