A Sanctified Black: Maurice

Elizabeth Stuart, Hope College 2018

Reading through Jean Devisse’s essay on Saint Maurice has caused me to wonder about a many of things. Growing up as a Presbyterian I have never really looked into, or cared to deeply about many of the Saints. But as I am becoming more aware of the world I come to realize that the Saints have been classified quite frequently in ways that are meant to place the saints into a box detracts from their holy purpose.

Historically Saint Maurice was an incredible person. He stood firm to his faith and to his God, and led others in good faith. He was the strength and shield for his men’s religion, as well as protecting the faith and lives of those that he was sent to persecute. It is unfair that a man who was able to do all these things in the name of God is now more commonly known as simply a “Black Saint”. His entire identity has been compressed down into this idea of a single adjective. No other Saint that I could find (besides Mother Teresa) has a racial or other adjective identity placed in front of their names. Furthermore a lot of the other Saints are described as being from somewhere. Instead of being “Black Maurice” he could be labeled as “Maurice of Thebes” this type of identifying would allow him to be known as something more than his race.

This same issue with forcing those who are different from one culture into and adjective identity box, is vastly present today. An African-American person producing art is not simply an artists, but is known as either a Black artists, or an African-American artists. The same holds true for Feminist artists, Native American artists, Chinese artists, and so on. Art is not simply art, but art is given different racial or ideological adjectives. Perhaps those viewing the art have forgotten that art is not meant to be placed in a category but to be felt across all boundaries that humans can set.

Sources: Wikimedia: image
Additional reading: Wikipedia: Saint Maurice



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