Tolton: From Slave to Priest

Tolton Drama

Tickets online or at the door! First come, first serve!


    $15 General Admission
    $10 for Seniors and Students
    $50 VIP Admission (Friday only)

    Includes preferred seating and admission to post-show wine and cheese reception with Bishop Joseph Perry, Leonardo Defilippis, and the St. Luke Production Team.
The nationally-acclaimed live theater production based on the life of Father Augustus Tolton, America’s first Black priest, is coming to Chicago. Tolton: From Slave to Priest tells the moving story of holiness and forgiveness so desperately needed in today's world.

Produced by the award-winning Leonardo Defillippis of St. Luke Productions, Tolton: From Slave to Priest, has been seen in cities across America.

Meet Fr. Augustus Tolton in this one-man multimedia performance. From his dramatic escape from slavery to his courageous struggle in the face of prejudice, Fr. Tolton’s inspiring life centers around his message reconciliation and hope. This riveting drama is filled with all the elements of professional theater, runs 75 minutes, and is suitable for ages 10 and up.
“I found Tolton to be a wonderful statement of faith and perseverance. The performance is so rich in telling this compelling story. People were genuinely moved—they had never seen anything like it.” —Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Bishop Joseph N. Perry, archdiocesan postulator for the cause of Father Tolton, will give an introduction at both Friday and Saturday showings.

Video Trailer

Radio Interview

Click to hear Bishop Joseph Perry talk about Father Augustus Tolton and this live drama in Chicago
Download Mp3 (16 minutes)

"The Catholic Church deplores double slavery: that of the mind and that of the body, She endeavors to free us from both." —Father Augustus Tolton, 1889

Father Augustus ToltonFr. Augustus Tolton was born a slave on a Missouri farm in 1854, and his mother risked everything to reach freedom in Illinois with her three small children. After settling in the town of Quincy, Illinois, the family continued to experience hardships and prejudice. In spite of this, he persevered in his deep desire to become a Catholic priest.

When every seminary in the United States rejected him, Augustus did not give up, and he was finally ordained in Rome. Upon his return to Illinois, Fr. Tolton worked tirelessly to serve people of all races, especially the former slaves who flocked to Chicago.

Fr. Tolton saw the Catholic Church as the antidote to the discrimination and rejection that he experienced in his own life. “It was the priests of the Church who taught me to pray and to forgive my persecutors,” he said. “We should welcome all people into the Church, not send them away."

At the young ages of 43, Fr. Tolton died after collapsing from heat exhaustion in Chicago. Now his cause for sainthood is moving forward, as more and more people are beginning to recognize the humble perseverance, courage, and compassion of this extraordinary man.

More about the cause of Fr. Augustus Tolton »