This is a ministry of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte with support from the Diocese and local parishes. The Campus Minister works to support students in their transition from teen to adult, guide them in their faith, encourage them in the sacramental life, and provide a home-away-from-home during their time in college. We are here to offer you opportunities to discover and enter into the spiritual life, fellowship, and Christian community that are at the core of our catholic faith as well as our African/African American roots. We value and seek to encourage students’ commitments to their faith, regardless of denomination, faith tradition, or educational level. Our CCM is here to journey with you.
Recognizing the needs of African American Catholic Students, faculty and staff as a minority religious group in the university setting, Thea House: The Catholic Campus Connection for North Carolina A&T State University and Bennett College will endeavor to address those needs by offering opportunities for continued faith formation, religious/liturgical services, programs that teach the history of Africans and African Americans in the Catholic Church and that promote understanding among other religious traditions, and by developing a Small Faith Community while encouraging participation at the local parishes. Thea House will strive to be a place for students to grow academically, morally, and spiritually in an atmosphere that is familiar to them and where they can enjoy the fellowship of other Catholic students.
Thea House students together with other college students throughout the Diocese of Charlotte continue to deepen their faith in God, each other, and all that surrounds them through quality experiences of:
- Sacramental Living
- Community Building
- Leadership Training
- Service opportunities
- Retreat weekends
- Faith Development
- Small Faith Sharing Group
Thea House shall endeavor to inculcate the six ministerial functions that reflect the Church’s general mission on campus as expressed by the Committee on Education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the document, Empowering Campus Ministry: A Condensed Version of “Empowered by the Spirit” (October, 2002).
- Forming the Faith Community
- Appropriating the Faith
- Forming the Christian Conscience
- Educating for Justice and Peace
- Facilitating Personal Development
- Developing Leaders for the Future
Our center is named after Thea Bowman, a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. Sister Thea, as she was affectionately known was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, December 29, 1937. Sister Thea, the grand daughter of slaves, was named Bertha by her parents. She began a spiritual quest that led her to become a Catholic at age 9. The next year her parents enrolled her at Holy Child Jesus School staffed by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The life and work of the sisters so impressed her that, at age 15, she joined them by entering St. Rose Convent, Lacrosse, Wisconsin. There she was given the name Thea.
After progressing successfully through the formative years of Religious life and academic world, Thea received a doctorate in English literature and linguistics from Catholic University of America. During these years she developed a deep appreciation for her identity as both an African American and as a Catholic. As her mission unfolded, she celebrated the gifts of all people and encouraged black Americans to proudly celebrate their own identity. In the 70’s and 80’s she became the focal point of a renewed and emerging African American Catholic energy, confidence and faith. Sister Thea was extraordinarily gifted, as she became a poet, preacher, teacher, evangelist, gospel singer, a wounded healer, and an African American catalyst.
In 1984, Sister Thea was diagnosed with breast cancer. She prayed, “to live until I die.” Her prayer was answered, and Thea continued to serve in her capacity as the director of Intercultural Awareness for the Diocese of Jackson and she was particularly successful with children. Despite being seriously impaired by cancer, she traveled to distant cities seated in a wheelchair, preaching, teaching and reviving congregations. In 1989, the U.S Bishops invited her to be a key speaker at their conference and she gave a very rousing speech that earned her a standing ovation. At the end of the meeting, at Sister Thea’s invitation, the Bishops stood, held hands together and sang, “We Shall Overcome” with gusto!
Sister Thea lived a full life. She fought evil, especially prejudice, suspicion, hatred, and divisions. She fought for God and God’s people until her death on March 30, 1990. At her funeral, the voices of 80 children punctuated the evening with bursts of hymns taught to them by Sister Thea. She requested the words of Sojourner Truth to be recited: “I’m not going to die. I’m going home like a shooting star.”
The Diocese of Youngtown, Ohio as well as the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, had started to move for the canonization of Thea Bowman through the decree of Heroic Virtues for her untiring efforts of evangelization and Catholic missions. The Congregation for the causes of Saints, in the Vatican, already allowed the decree, paving way towards her sainthood. She is now referred to as “Servant of God.”