Saints of Colour

We celebrate the many saints of colour in the Catholic Church who have inspired the faithful in their devotions.

Men and women of historic virtue have walked the path to sainthood for centuries, inspiring us to look to their example and pray to them to take our petitions to the Lord. However, when you look at the prayer cards and icons for sale in our parish shops and kiosks, you could be forgiven for thinking that all our saints are white Europeans.

This, of course, only reveals a segment of the bigger picture, and there are many saints of colour in the Catholic Church who have inspired the faithful in their devotions.

In this section, we celebrate just a few of these men and women – some already canonised, others on the path to sainthood as Venerable or Blessed.

Saint Augustine of Hippo  

St Augustine of Hippo was a theologian, philosopher, the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia, Roman North Africa in AD 354-430. 

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong

St Augustine Zhao Rong was a Catholic priest and martyr who preached the gospel in the western Sichuan Province of China in the early 18th century.  

Saint Charbel

Saint Charbel was a Maronite Catholic priest, monk, and hermit who lived in 19th Century Lebanon and was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1965.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Nalini Nathan from the Christian Network Against Caste Discrimination explains why St Teresa of Calcutta - Mother Teresa - is a saint close to her heart.

Saint Kizito

Kizito was beatified by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 and canonised by Pope Paul VI on 18 October 1964. Kizito is the patron saint of children and primary schools.

Saint Matthew Ayariga

Saint Matthew Ayariga was martyred for his faith by Islamic State militants alongside 20 Coptic Orthodox construction workers on a beach in Libya in 2015.

Blessed Michael Iwene Tansi

Blessed Michael Cyprian Iwene Tansi was born in September 1903 in Igboezunu Aguleri, a village in south-eastern Nigeria in the present day Anambra State.

Saint Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador and a champion of diversity and social justice in the 20th Century. 

Venerable Pierre Toussaint

Credited as the founder of Catholic Charities New York, Venerable Pierre Toussaint was a model of selflessness whose life's work was to help others.

Sister Thea Bowman

Sister Thea Bowman transcended racism to leave a lasting mark on US Catholic life in the late 20th century.

Saint Josephine Bakhita

Saint Josephine Bakhita was the first black woman to be canonised in the modern era.