Venerable Pierre Toussaint

Venerable Pierre ToussaintProfile

Born a slave. His master, Jean Berard, taught Pierre to read and write, and when Berard moved to New York in 1787, he took along several slaves, including Pierre and his sister Rosalie. There Pierre was apprenticed to a leading hairdresser, and soon became a popular stylist himself. When Berard died, Pierre stayed on to care for the ailing widow; he was freed from slavery when Madame Berard died in 1807.

Working for himself, Pierre became wealthy. He fell in love with Juliette Noel, a 15 year old slave, and he purchased her, freed her, and married her. As the two took their faith seriously, they started work to help the poor in New York. They turned their own home into a shelter for orphans, a credit bureau, an employment agency, a hostel for priests and a other poor travellers. Pierre helped fund the construction of Old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Though the couple never had children, when his sister Rosalie died, Pierre and Juliette adopted her daughter Euphemia. Widower in 1851. To his last days he worked tirelessly to help anyone who needed it.




MLA Citation

  • “Venerable Pierre Toussaint“. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 November 2019. Web. 27 February 2021. <>