Fr. Timothy Kesicki, S.J. at Liturgy Honoring Slaves Sold by Georgetown University: We Have Greatly Sinned

BY ISN STAFF | April 19, 2017

“Today the Society of Jesus, who helped to establish Georgetown University and whose leaders enslaved and mercilessly sold your ancestors, stand before you and say we have greatly sinned,” said Rev. Tim Kesicki, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States at Georgetown University’s Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition, and Hope. “We pray with you today because we have greatly sinned, and because we are profoundly sorry.”

Georgetown University, in partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington and the Society of Jesus in the United States, on Tuesday, April 18 held the liturgy and building dedication in honor of the 272 enslaved men, women and children sold by Maryland Jesuits in 1838, attended by descendants of the enslaved people as well as members of the university community and the general public.

Following the liturgy, the university dedicated two campus buildings for Isaac Hawkins and Anne Marie Becraft. These halls were formerly named for two Jesuits involved in the 1838 sale to Louisiana plantation owners.

Isaac Hawkins Hall, formerly known as Mulledy Hall and provisionally named as Freedom Hall in 2015, was named for the first enslaved person listed in documents related to the 1838 sale.

Anne Marie Becraft Hall, formerly known as McSherry Hall and provisionally named in 2015 as Remembrance Hall, was renamed for a free woman of color who established a school in the town of Georgetown for black girls. The school was one of the first such educational endeavors in the District of Columbia.

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