Mother Catherine Seals

Written by: author unknown

From the play Lower 9 Stories, written by students from Lawless Positive Outreach Leaders and McDonogh 35 Students at the Center.

Mother Catherine Seals led the spiritualist church in the 1920's right here in the lower 9th ward. Once, she was very sick and sought the help of a white woman, a faith healer. But this woman would not help Mother Catherine because of the color of her skin. Thus Mother Catherine healed herself and became the great nurturer and healer of this entire community, founding the Temple of the Innocent Blood, a home where unwed mothers could bear and raise their children.

She is compassion. She is crying tonight because she sees a lot of pain and suffering that has happened in her community since she passed on to heaven. We honor her tonight and ask her to continue to care for us as we tell you our stories, as we tell your stories. Lower 9, don't it sound fine. It gets hard sometimes, but you've got to shine.

When Mother Catherine died in 1930, at 43, a huge thunderstorm throttled the city. "The day of the funeral there were thousands of people," deacon Lastie recalled. "Mother Catherine always said there'd come a day when the sun would shine in the rain.... When the funeral reached the Industrial Canal bridge, the sun broke through, and people started fallin' out on the bridge. People had babies in their arms, and they knew it was prophecy.

"That was a powerful, powerful woman, and she done so much for people."