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Sun, 08.26.1810

Theresa Maxis Duchemin, Missionary born

*The birth of Theresa Maxis Duchemin in 1810 is celebrated on this date.  She was a Black missionary. 

Born Almeide Maxis Duchemin, she was the daughter of immigrant parents from Baltimore, MD. Her father left her family, and Duchemin was raised by her Haitian mother.  

At the age of nineteen as Miss Mary Theresa Duchemin, she was involved in founding the Oblate Sisters of Providence.  This was the first Roman Catholic religious institute for Catholic women of African descent. Her mother, who was also involved with the Oblate Sisters died during an 1831 cholera epidemic in Baltimore. Duchemin subsequently moved to Michigan, to work in conjunction with Louis Florent Gillet. The two founded Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she opened multiple schools and orphanages in Michigan and in 1858 in the Pennsylvania area.  

After falling out of favor with Catholic Churches in Michigan, Duchemin moved in with Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in Canada, where she would spend much of the rest of her life, until returning to Michigan in 1885.  She later died in 1892.  For her work, she was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.  

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