Venerable Pierre Toussaint was born a slave in Haiti to the Berand family. They brought him to New York City in 1787 to escape the political unrest in Haiti. He became a successful hairdresser, eventually even supporting Mr. Berand’s widow, who granted his freedom in 1807. Using his wealth he became a philanthropist to the poor in NYC, starting an orphanage, employment and credit bureaus, a hostel for travelers and priests and contributed to the building of Old St. Patrick Cathedral and is interred in the new cathedral. Pierre died at 87 and is known as one of NYC's most famous Catholics.