The Diocese of West Texas had submitted a resolution to add the name of Dr. Artemisia Bowden to the calendar of Holy Women Holy Men. Dr. Bowden was a young black woman from Raleigh NC when she was asked by the bishop of the missionary diocese of Western Texas to come to San Antonio and help begin a school for young “colored” girls in 1904. Bishop Steptoe Johnston had the idea that if the young women were educated a taught a skill, they would be better able to raise the living standards of other newly freed slaves and their families.
What began as a school teaching four young girls to sew has become the largest school in the Alamo College System. With a student body of over 24,000 St. Philip’s College is no longer associated with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas in a formal capacity but is definitely a part of the body of Christ in San Antonio, Texas. And Dr. Bowden has been instrumental in making that happen. She was the in charge person for over 50 years. At one point, she used her own money to purchase land for the school. She was a faith-based woman who taught her students to love Christ, love learning and love helping the residents of San Antonio.
The resolution was presented to the committee on worship and liturgy and was attended by several members of the Diocese of West Texas. The resolution was favorably received and referred to the committee for inclusion. That referral was passed by both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. There will be further study and the name will again come before the houses in 2015. This is rather standard procedure for a resolution of this type. We are looking forward to having Dr. Bowden honored in 2015.