Catholic HIll

St. Mary's Catholic Church, Charleston, SC
Courtesy of Fr. Gregory West

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Charleston by Pope Pius VII. This makes it the seventh oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. At that time, the diocese comprised the states of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In spite of a ban on Catholicism in the Colonial era, it arrived in Carolina much earlier than 1820 via both colonists and enslaved persons.

  The story of Catholic Hill in the Colleton County town of Ritter serves as a metaphor for black Catholics in South Carolina. While the Catholic Hill experience is unique in many respects, it is emblematic of the struggle for the faith in the way that the people of Catholic Hill maintained their identity despite decades of hardship and neglect.” (Suzanne Krebsbach). Professor Allison McCletchie, of Claflin University, is leading a small team that is creating an ethnography of Catholic Hill. She joins Dr.