THE ICON: Henriette DeLille
THE LEGACY: Growing up Creole in New Orleans, Henriette Delille was not only well-educated but also groomed for a life of placage, in which she would be a rich man’s mistress. But because of her Catholic upbringing, she renounced that life and opened herself to a life of faith. She was confirmed in 1834 and two years later founded what would become the Sisters of the Holy Family, an order of nuns committed to caring for the elderly, poor and sick, and teaching people who, in a segregated society, had little opportunity for education. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI declared her “venerable” — putting her on the path to sainthood. If and when she is canonized, she would become New Orleans’ first native-born Catholic saint.
THE ARTIST: Saegan Swanson, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “Henriette Delille showed extraordinary courage and virtue in choosing to love God and to serve his people, particularly those most in need. Her legacy lives on through the ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Family and has already been recognized worldwide.” — Archbishop Gregory Aymond, in 2017