Elizabeth Clarissa Lange was born in Cuba, to free black parents who gave her a great education. They immigrated to the U.S. in 1800. Through the encouragement of Fr. James Hector Joubert, SS, she opened St. Francis Academy for colored students, the oldest continuously operated black school in the U.S. In 1829, she founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence and was the first superior general. The sisters experienced great hardships, poverty, and racism but continued to educate and evangelize African Americans. She gave herself and her material possessions until she was empty of all but Jesus and died a natural death.