Gloria Purvis | University of Portland

Gloria Purvis

Gloria Purvis is a Catholic media commentator, author, and the host and executive producer of The Gloria Purvis Podcast in collaboration with America Media, a podcast that aims to “foster a culture of charitable dialogue.” Through her media presence, she has been a strong Catholic voice for life issues and racial justice. She uses her firm pro-life lens as a way to speak to the sin of racism and as her reason for saying clearly that Black lives do matter and that all people are made in the image and likeness of God. No exceptions. She believes that there are no conditions to human dignity. In a New York Times piece, she was quoted as saying, George Floyd “had a right to life. But he also had a right to a natural death.” She speaks the truth because she feels it is what the Lord is calling her to do, even if it means challenging people and the institution of the Church to grow. A convert to Catholicism after a mystical experience at the age of 12, she is originally from Charleston, South Carolina. There is a relatively small Catholic population there, and an even smaller Black Catholic population. Recently, on her podcast, she spoke to the only African American Jesuit currently in formation in the entire world. How and why is the Black Catholic population only at 3 percent in the US? It is something for the institution, clergy, and Catholic lay people to reckon with, and Purvis is ready to speak the truth, with a focus on Christ, as this reckoning continues. A third order Carmelite, Purvis is a layperson who keeps hours and participates in the order’s charism of prayer. “I talk to the Lord a lot,” she says. A wife and mother, she balances the hard work through prayer, laughter, and by enjoying life. “I already know the victory has already been won. Christ won,” she says. “The history of my people, people held in enslavement, stolen from Africa… I am journeying toward that freedom. I have the strength of my ancestors. I have a will to survive. And I trust in the power of God. I have seen it.” Purvis has served on the National Black Catholic Congress’s Leadership Commission on Social Justice, and she is the inaugural Pastoral Fellow for the University of Notre Dame’s Office of Life and Human Dignity at the McGrath Institute for Church Life.