Mathilda Taylor Beasley was a Black Catholic educator and religious leader who was the first African American nun to serve in the state of Georgia. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1832 and baptized as a Catholic in 1869. Before the Civil War, she educated slaves in her home in Savannah, Georgia with Catherine and Jane Deveaux, even though this was illegal at the time. Later in life, after becoming a Franciscan nun in England, Beasley returned to the United States and founded a group of African-American nuns in Georgia called the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, and also started one of the first orphanages in the United States for African-American girls, called the St. Francis Home for Colored Orphans. Beasley died on December 20, 1903. In 2004, she was posthumously named a Georgia Woman of Achievement.

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