Freed Slave Julia Greeley, Who Served Denver’s Needy, Could Become A Saint

June 15, 2018
Photo: Julie GreeleyCourtesy of the Julia Greeley Guild
A historical photo of freed slave Julia Greeley.

In the 1870s, a freed slave named Julia Greeley made her way to Denver. Here, she would start a legacy of service and charity that has now placed her on the path to sainthood. Greeley's remains were interred at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on June 7 in honor of the 100th anniversary of her death.

By day, Greeley worked in William Gilpin's family mansion before carrying out her acts of charity at night in alleyways and streets. She attended Catholic mass everyday. The Catholic church is currently considering six African Americans -- three of them former slaves -- for sainthood. Mary Leisring, director of the Office of Black Catholics for the Denver Archdiocese, is spearheading the campaign to recognize Greeley's efforts. She told Colorado Matters Greeley once gave away her own grave plot.