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Local News

University of St. Francis to host live productions on first African American priest

The University of St. Francis in Joliet will host two live productions this month about the life of Rev. Augustus Tolton, the first-ever African American priest.

The Anti-Racism Committee of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate is sponsoring the production of "Tolton: From Slave to Priest," the live theatrical one-man drama, as part of Black History Month, according to a news release.

According to the release, the play tells "the compelling true story of courage, forgiveness, and reconciliation (that) resonates deeply with modern American audiences. Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago, postulator for Tolton’s canonization cause, is calling 'Tolton' a production that will 'inspire a new era of peace, hope and forgiveness in America.'”

The production will star actor Jim Coleman. Leonardo Defilippis of Saint Luke Productions is the director. It runs 75 minutes and is suitable for middle school ages and up.

One production will take place on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. at Sexton Auditorium on the University of St. Francis main campus, located at 500 Wilcox St. in Joliet.

A second production will take place on Friday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre, located at 201 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet.

Tickets to the event are free but must be acquired in advance at either eventbrite.com or ToltonJoliet@gmail.com.

Last year, USF instructor Glenn Gummess produced a documentary about Tolton's life and his case for sainthood which aired on WTTW Chicago.

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