Sister Thea Bowman, F.S.P.A. (December 29, 1937 – March 30, 1990), was a Roman Catholic Religious Sister, teacher, and scholar, who made a major contribution to the ministry of the Catholic Church to her fellow African Americans. She became an evangelist among her people and was a popular speaker on faith and spirituality in her final years. She helped found the National Black Sisters Conference to provide support for African-American women in Catholic religious institutes. Bowman became instrumental in the publication in 1987 of a new Catholic hymnal, Lead Me, Guide Me: The African American Catholic Hymnal, the first such work directed to that community.
She was born Bertha Bowman in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Her grandfather had been born a slave, but her father was a physician and her mother a teacher.She appeared on the news show 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace. She told Wallace that:
“I think the difference between me and some people is that I’m content to do my little bit. Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change. But if each one would light a candle we’d have a tremendous light”.
Matthew 5:16 Young’s Literal Translation
So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who [is] in the heavens.