Honoring a Saint: Dr. Artemisia Bowden, Educator
In 1902, Dr. Artemisia Bowden was called to the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas by the Rt. Rev. James S. Johnston, Second Bishop of West Texas, to advance the educational opportunities for African-Americans at St. Philip’s Normal and Industrial School in San Antonio, Tx. During her 50 years of faithful leadership, she laid the framework for today's St. Philip's College, the only Historically Black College and a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the nation. Forty-six years after her death, The Episcopal Church's 78th General Convention added Bowden to its liturgical calendar in 2015 and established her feast day as August 18.
This year on Dr. Artemisia Bowden's feast day, St. Philip's College held ribbon cutting ceremonies for four new buildings including the Saint Artemisia Bowden Building on their Martin Luther King campus. The Ven. Mike Besson, Archdeacon, the Rev. Mikel Brightman, St. Philip's, San Antonio, and Caroline Mowen, Canon for Administration and Ministry Support, were honored to represent the Diocese of West Texas at the dedication ceremony.
"Saint Artemisia Bowden’s feast day finds us giving our collective thanksgiving for her tireless and groundbreaking work in education and in particular in the founding of St. Philip’s College. We are honored to be forever connected to St. Bowden's work and ministry amongst the people of the Diocese of West Texas. Her legacy continues to spread far beyond the borders of our Diocese and for her continued influence and inspiration amongst us all, we give thanks to God," the Ven. Mike Besson shares.
The congregations of West Texas are invited to share the history of Dr. Bowden's ministry and pray the following Collect at mid-week and Sunday services. Additional resources about her life and canonization by The Episcopal Church are included below.
Collect for Commemoration of Artemisia Bowden
O God, by your Holy Spirit, you give gifts to your people so that they might faithfully serve your Church and the world: We give you praise for the gifts of perseverance, teaching and wisdom made manifest in your servant, Artemisia Bowden, whom you called far from home for the sake of educating the daughters and granddaughters of former slaves in Texas. We thank you for blessing and prospering her life’s work, and pray that, following her example, we may be ever mindful of the call to serve where you send us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Great Cloud of Witnesses, 2015, p. 400
Supplemental information about Dr. Artemisia Bowden can be found online at the following links.
- The Episcopal Archives - the Church Awakens: Leadership Gallery, Artemisia Bowden
- Feast Day: Celebrating a Saint, Alamo Colleges District - St. Philip's College News (August 13, 2021)
- The Saint Who Transformed St. Philip's College, San Antonio Express News (April 30, 2018)
- St. Philip's Began as a Church Sewing School, Paula Allen of St. Mark's, San Antonio in the San Antonio Express News (February 21, 2014)