Region celebrates Sister Thea Bowman House Day

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UTICA — Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri declared it Sister Thea Bowman House Day on Wednesday in an afternoon ceremony in the DeSales Center at 309 Genesee St. (former St. Francis School).

A brief ceremony and performance by the children highlighted the life of Bowman as part of Black History Month.

Sister Thea Bowman was born on December 29, 1937 in Mississippi, the granddaughter of a slave and the daughter of a country doctor. She became a Catholic because of the witness of the sisters that taught her in school and she later joined the Franciscan Sisters in LaCrosse, Wisc.

Bowman earned a doctorate in English literature and was dedicated to the education of children from multi-cultural backgrounds. She was a poet, a preacher, a vocalist, and a catalyst for needed change to eliminate racism both in church and civic circles.

Thea was proud of her African-American heritage and loved to celebrate it through story and song, according to the announcement by officials with the Bowman House.

Bowman was stricken with bone cancer and died on March 30, 1990. She preached even from her death bed as very important lesson to live life to its fullest, the announcement said, adding “You walk together and you won’t get weary. You might get tired, but you won’t get weary.”

The life of Sr. Thea Bowman has been the inspiration to Thea Bowman House in Utica which provides child care and supportive services to over 300 children and families each day, the officials added.

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