PIERRE TOUSSAINT Biography - Craftmen, artisans and people from other Occupations


Biography » craftmen artisans and people from other occupations » pierre toussaint


Name: Pierre Toussaint                                                             
Born: 1766 Haiti                                                                   
Died: 30 June 1853 New York City USA                                               
Pierre Toussaint (1766 - June 30, 1853) or Venerable Pierre Toussaint was born a   
Catholic slave in Haiti. His master taught him to read and write and he came to   
New York from Haiti in 1787. In New York, he became an apprentice to one of the   
city's leading hairdressers.                                                       
Pierre Toussaint quickly became a popular hairdresser. He was freed from slavery   
when his owner died in 1807 and later became quite wealthy. He fell in love with   
another slave, Juliette Noel, and purchased her freedom when she was only         
fifteen years old. Noel married Toussaint and together they set out to help       
those in need in New York City. They opened their home as a shelter for orphans,   
a credit bureau, an employment agency and refuge for priests and poverty           
stricken travelers. Toussaint also funded money to build a new Roman Catholic     
church in New York, which became Old St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mulberry Street.   
After the death of his sister Rosalie, he and his wife adopted her daughter       
Euphemia and raised her as their own.                                             
As Toussaint aged, he continued his charity. His wife, Juliette died in 1851.     
Two years later after his wife's death, Pierre Toussaint died on June 30, 1853,   
at the age of eighty-seven. He was buried along side his wife and daughter,       
Euphemia in Old St. Patrick's on Mott Street. In 1941, his grave was discovered   
by the Rev. Charles McTague. In 1990, John Cardinal O'Connor, then Archbishop of   
New York had Toussaint exhumed and reinterred in the crypt below the altar at St   
Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. Because of Toussaint's charity and piety,     
he was strongly supported for sainthood by O'Connor.                               
In 1996 Toussaint was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II, the first step     
toward sainthood.