James Nicholas Joubert

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Reverend James Mary Hector Nicholas Joubert de la Muraille, of the Society of Saint-Sulpice, was born in France, on September 6, 1777. He co-founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence along with Mother Mary Lange. He died in 1843.

Early life[edit]

Father James Hector Nicholas Joubert, was born at Saint Jean d'Angely on the west coast of France, in September 6, 1777. His parents were John Joseph Mary Joubert, and the former Suzanne Claire Cathering Guimbaut. His father was a lawyer.[1]

When he was twelve years old, he was enrolled in the military school at Rebois-en-Brie. Upon graduation young Joubert entered the military until after a few years he went to work in the tax office. He was posted to Haiti when war broke out in 1803 and he fled first to Cuba and then to the United States.[1]


He eventually found his way to Baltimore, Maryland, where he became a Sulpician. On August 22, 1827, while at St. Mary's Seminary, Father Joubert was assigned to teach Sunday school classes to African American members of St. Mary’s Lower Chapel.[2] Joubert was introduced to two African American women who were members of the Lower Chapel and ran a small, private school for San Domingan children, Elizabeth Clarisse Lange and Marie Magdelaine Balas.[2]

Encouraged by the Archbishop of Baltimore, James Whitfield, Joubert asked Elizabeth Lange if she would consider starting a school for girls of color.[3] They told him that they were interested in establishing a community of African American Roman Catholic nuns.[2] Joubert persuaded Archbishop James Whitfield to approve the order.[4] Joubert would provide direction, be chaplain, solicit financial assistance, and encourage other "women of color” to become members of this, the first religious congregation of women of color in the history of the Catholic Church[3]

Father Joubert records in his dairy, that after learning that a mob of Know-Nothings had burned a convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts, he and two other priests spent the night of October 8, 1834 sleeping in the parlor of the Oblates' convent.[4]

While Mother Mary Lange continued to manage St Francis Academy, Father Joubert devoted his efforts to finding the funds to keep it going. He died in late 1843.[4]

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