The National Black Sisters’ Conference was founded in 1968 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania under the inspiration and direction of then Sister Martin de Porres Grey, RSM (now Patricia Grey, Ph.D.) and with the generous support and hospitality of the Most Reverend John J. Wright, Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy.
Sister Martin de Porres was the only woman religious to attend the first National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus (NBCCC) held in Detroit in April, 1968. Inspired and encouraged by the vision of African American Catholic priests, she left the Caucus with a heightened awareness of the pressing demand for black religious to address themselves to the urgent need for the Catholic Church in America to develop greater relevancy for black folk, or to risk losing its credibility as a manifestation of Christian unity.
The Holy Spirit moved Sr. Martin de Porres to call all black religious women to share in a task, which would be done only by Black religious women acting together, fully free, and joyously for the coming of the kingdom.
At that first, now historic, meeting in the summer of 1968 over 150 Black Catholic women religious from 79 different national and international congregations, gathered on the grounds of Carlow College. Sister Martin de Porres was elected to serve as president. A board of directors was elected and plans for legal incorporation of the National Black Sisters’ Conference were made.
Today, NBSC is a national organization of more than 150 Black Catholic women religious and associates in the United States striving to promote a positive self-image among ourselves and our people. Together, we form a strong and cohesive voice in support of the dignity and rights of women of color, in creating mentoring and support systems for Black women in religious formation, in educating the African American family, and in confronting the sin of racism, which continues to permeate our society and
Church as we work tirelessly for the liberation of African American people.
We as black women religious, continue to stand at the forefront in the struggle for justice, giving witness to the
saving truth of the gospel and the mission of Christ’s Church on earth.