Hi Everyone! Please help me welcome my dear friend, Shirley Harris-Slaughter. Shirley and I met through the Rave Reviews Book Club, where we both serve on the Board. As such, I can tell you she’s a delightful and charming lady! Shirley is here today to talk about her book, Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community. Take it away, Shirley!
Written By: SHIRLEY HARRIS-SLAUGHTER, AUTHOR
Genre: Biography; Narrative History
THE DEMISE OF AN ERA
HELLO MY GOOD FRIENDS
Today I am troubled by something the Archdiocese of Detroit is doing. Our archbishop is closing down churches in the Detroit’s catholic community. The word is he is being ill-advised.
I will not reveal names to protect those who are truly innocent. The main reason I wrote Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community was to save our history and our memories. Because the final nail is being hammered into the coffin of this little church community as I write.
Our Lady of Victory started as a little mission church in a storefront in 1943. A donated church was rolled a few miles down the street and placed on top of a basement foundation where it sat until its final closing in 1982 when it officially merged with Presentation Church less than a mile away.
I always had this feeling that we were being treated different and I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. But we persevered in spite of the odds we were up against. Like not ever having a permanent priest assigned. We had administrators and that, my friends, is what killed OLV. It’s amazing this church community lasted as long as it did.
Here is an excerpt from a letter I wrote on September 11, 2013 to our deacon with a copy to the Archdiocese “Changing Lives Together” Campaign to cancel my pledge of $2400 to be paid over a three-year period:
“This letter is written to express to you how deeply disturbed I am about the events that are unfolding at Presentation-Our Lady of Victory Church. You have been administrator for the past 10 years and in that time we have lost many members. Here are my concerns:
- Over the years I have noticed that our spiritual needs are not being met. I noticed it the moment you arrived. This lack happens mostly when members are making or have made their final journey on this earth…
- You have taken one week away from [our music minister] so that we are left without an organist/musician on the fourth Sunday. Yet you hired your family member. How do you explain this? I fear we are going to lose our music minister altogether just like we have lost all the leaders in this church.
- We have not seen a financial report in about eight years. I guess it was your decision not to supply us with one…
- We didn’t have a parish council for a few years either. The president is suddenly gone… I fear this newest council will be gone too…
I know the diocese believe they own this church but the truth is the people own it. If they weren’t putting money into it and their volunteerism, there would be no church. You and every priest that came through these doors have felt as if this church is yours to do as you please. The attitude should be, “How can I be of service to you?” Because we have been treated so shabbily over the years, we do not feel that the Archdiocese of Detroit cares…
But now we have a deacon (you) to run a catholic church. At first I was ok with it because I thought the diocese was modeling it the way it was done at the church I worked for which was part of a cluster. They had a deacon at each of two parishes with the priest ministering to both parishes. The priest was the administrator and so he was able to handle the spiritual needs of his members. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think you would become the administrator and we have a priest come in just to say mass… And without a priest there goes the sacraments that we are required to have…”
And now on February 28th we have moved over to the chapel of St. Scholastica Church. Yes, a chapel! Is that supposed to make us feel good because we are keeping our name, our ministries, the deacon and monsignor? Why would they think keeping things the same will make us grow? You can’t keep doing the same things and expecting a different result. It’s not going to happen! For all intents and purposes, we have merged. Let’s call it what it is.
My friends, I hope you are getting the big picture here. I don’t plan to move over there. I can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe it’s because I know too much having done the research for this book. And if you know your history you will more than likely fight for it!!
All of the above is what motivated me to finally write and become a published Indie author. Joining Rave Reviews Book Club has kept this story alive.
I know we must accept the things we cannot change, have the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Question: Tell me, am I “beating a dead horse” or should I get over it?
Get a copy and get the story!
Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a community activist having been a school board trustee in the Oak Park School District and mentored four freshmen girls in the Winning Futures Program. Shirley loves trains, vintage clothes, and old buildings with historic significance. So it was a natural that she would write about growing up in historic Royal Oak Twp. and keep alive a Catholic Community that was about to lose its history and identity. It seems that everything she loved closed down and she was not about to let any of it be forgotten. Shirley joined Rave Reviews Book Club because she recognized the need to support fellow authors in order to move forward in her own endeavors. She already had a thriving relationship with twitter followers including Nonnie Jules, Founder & President of RRBC, who helped her in overcoming twitter jitters. “We all had the same goals so it was a natural fit.”
Shirley’s family includes her husband Langston, a son and daughter and grandchildren who are the light of her life. Her husband says, “My full time job is taking care of you.”
“Hmmm I wonder why?”
Connect With The Author:
Twitter Handle: @sharrislaughter
ABOUT DANICA CORNELL:
Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.
Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.