Black Priest and White Nun Hid Their Love and Son for Decades, According to a New Book

In an environment and conditions that gave them no chance to be lovers, a Black Priest and a white Nun defied the odds and fell in love, even bearing a son. Their intriguing story is told in a new book, titled “Forbidden Love.”

The Laws of the Roman Catholic Church stipulate that its Priests and other Clergy are to remain celibate and unmarried once they take their vows.

A black Priest | Photo: Getty Images

A black Priest | Photo: Getty Images

However, a Black Priest and White Nun defied this Law when they fell in love and had a son. Their romance remained hidden for so long but is uncovered in the book, written by Lisa Jones Gentry. The author was able to get firsthand information about the lovers as she was an acquaintance of Joe Steel, the son from their romance. 

THE FORBIDDEN LOVE

The story of Sophie Legocki and William Grau is one of love at all odds. In the 1950s, Sophie was a Nun and worked as a nursery school teacher at a Parish in Lake Erie; William, on the other hand, was a priest, the first black priest for New York’s Diocese of Buffalo.

The Priest and Nun met when William helped Sophie in shoveling the snow at a church in Lackawanna, and fell in love.  With time, their love grew, but they were aware of the restrictions they faced, both from the Church and also due to the segregated world they lived in. With that in mind, they had no choice but to keep their love a secret. 

A nun | Photo: Getty Images

A nun | Photo: Getty Images

SOPHIE LEAVES THE ORDER AND MOVES IN WITH WILLIAM

The bond between the lovers continued to blossom, and Sophie decided to leave the order. After leaving, she moved in with William Grau; however, their love remained a secret.

They didn’t live together as a couple, as they told everyone that Sophie was Grau’s housekeeper. Soon, she became pregnant and gave birth to their son, Joe Steele in 1957.

After his birth, both parents decided to put him up for adoption. They lived together for nine years, but their love came to an end following the death of the priest in 1964. 

Mother and her son | Photo: Getty Images

Mother and her son | Photo: Getty Images

JOE FINDS HIS MOTHER

The fruit of the lovers’ union, Joe was raised by the Cincinnati family that adopted him.  After being pushed by his brother to seek answers about his parents, Joe was able to track his mother, Sophie in 1991.

He revealed that when he found her, she told him all about her father and the love they shared. He continued to visit her and got more information from her about her love story with William. Sophie died in 2007, but her son made sure her love story with William was told to the world.

He worked together with Lisa Gentry to bring the story to light, and she (Lisa) also said her first thought at hearing the story was that it was a universal story.

A mother and so hugging | Photo: Getty Images

A mother and so hugging | Photo: Getty Images

COUPLE OF 71 YEARS DIE 12 HOURS APART

In a related story of unique love, a couple married for 71 years died 12 hours apart. Herbert and Marilyn Delaigle were so much in love even until death, and their story left many amazed. Many people believe that the late couple is definitely together in heaven.
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