Harriet Tubman

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer… you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman

Born into slavery in 1820 in Maryland, amidst the chaos and violence of the Civil War, Harriet’s dream was to cast off the yoke of slavery for herself and for every black slave.

Sister Mary White with Women Religious for Justice

From a young age, she was inspired by values taught and modeled in her family. She embraced her baptismal gifts of faith, hope, and love. Enflamed by her own passionate desire for freedom, she traveled 90 miles north on foot to Pennsylvania and to freedom.

Her own passionate desire for freedom broadened to include every victim of slavery leaving no one behind. Known as the “Moses of her people,” Harriet is credited with conducting upward of 300 enslaved people to freedom along the Underground Railroad from the American South into Canada. She made her heroic travels with extraordinary courage, ingenuity, persistence, and iron discipline.

Upon her death on March 10, 1913, she was buried with military honors. This date has been set aside as a commemoration and her memorial. 100 years after her death, in 2013, Maryland and New York honored her by designating state parks with her name. Maryland also designated a driving tour in her name, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.

Any woman today seeking her own personal freedom can find inspiration in the story of Harriet Tubman, a model of faith, courage and compassion.


Clark, Jayne. “100 Years after Her Death, New Honors for Harriet Tubman.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 15 Mar. 2013, www.usatoday.com/story/dispatches/2013/03/15/

“Harriet Tubman.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, inc., 19 Jan. 2024, www.britannica.com/biography/Harriet-Tubman.

Sister Mary White, OSB is a member of St. Paul's Monastery (since 1966) and has served the community as director of the Benedictine Center and in the Monastery's outreach and justice ministries.