What Is St Katharine Drexel The Patron Saint Of

Saint Katharine Drexel

The Blessed Sacrament Sisters for Indians and Colored People (now known as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament) are a religious congregation of missionary nuns dedicated to the welfare of American Indians and African Americans. St. Katharine Drexel was born on November 26, 1858, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died on March 3, 1955, in Cornwells Heights. She is revered as the patroness of racial justice and benefactors alike. Drexel was the daughter of investor and philanthropist Francis Anthony Drexel, who was born in New York City.

In addition to philanthropic activity, the family was involved in distributing food, clothing, and money from their house on a twice-weekly basis.

During a trip to the western states with her father and sisters in 1884, she experienced the poverty and suffering of Native Americans living on reserve grounds.

Believing that everyone should have access to education, she carried on the work begun by her family in the early 1900s, which included establishing and endowing schools and churches for African Americans and Native Americans throughout the southern and western United States.

  • Her private meeting with Pope Leo XIII took place while she was in Rome in January 1887, during which she expressed a need for nuns to serve her missionary schools.
  • In 1889, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she remained for the rest of her life.
  • From the Drexel summer house in Torresdale, Pennsylvania, the community moved the following year to the new St.
  • In May 1913, the final papal assent was granted to the community.
  • Catherine’s Boarding School for Pueblo Indians in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was followed in 1899 by the establishment of another school, this time for African American girls in Rock Castle, Virginia.
  • As of 1927, she had created convents for her flock in Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; Boston; and New York City, among other cities.
  • At the time of her death, she had spent more than $12 million of her inheritance on charitable and apostolic missions.
  • By that time, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament had expanded to over 500 members in 51 convents, and they had built 49 elementary schools, 12 high schools, and Xavier University, among other initiatives.
  • In January 2000, a little girl was cured of her deafness after praying to Drexel and having her ears touched by some of Drexel’s things.
  • Drexel was canonized in October 2000, making her the second American-born saint after St.

Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was canonized in 1975. Drexel was authorized for sainthood by Pope John Paul II in March of that year, and she was canonized in October of that year. Melissa Petruzzello was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.

St. Katharine Drexel’s Story

St. Katharine Drexel was born on November 26, 1858, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a family of four children. On March 3, 1955, she passed away. Her feast day has been moved to March 3. The Blessed Sacrament Sisters for Indians and Colored People, currently known as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, were founded by St. Katharine Drexel in 1857. She was the first woman to receive the Blessed Sacrament. These nuns are a convent of missionary nuns who dedicate their lives to serving indigenous peoples of the Americas as well as African-Americans.

  1. Mother Katharine was the daughter of Francis Drexel, a rich Philadelphia financier and philanthropist, and his wife, Hannah Langstroth Drexel.
  2. After giving birth to Katharine, Hannah Drexel passed away only five weeks later.
  3. As a result of their father’s passing, Katharine and her sisters, Elizabeth and Louisa, were extremely rich, having inherited their father’s estate.
  4. In 1887, Katharine Drexel had a chance encounter with Pope Leo XIII that would forever alter the path of her future.
  5. Pope Leo XIII challenged Katharine to take action to address the situation.
  6. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sr.
  7. In 1891, she made her final vows and, with a group of friends, founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.
  8. A large number of churches and schools were established by Mother Katharine on Native American reservations throughout the Midwest and in largely Black areas in the South.

Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Katharine Drexel on October 1, 2000, in Rome, after a long and arduous process. She continues to be a fervent intercessor and source of inspiration for the Black Catholic community in the United States. She died in 2005.

Our Patron Saint – St. Katharine Drexel – St. Katharine Drexel Mission

Catherine Marie Drexel, the second daughter of Francis and Hannah Drexel of Philadelphia, was born on November 26, 1858, and became known as Saint Katharine Drexel. Her mother passed away approximately a month after she was born. Her father, a well-known banker and philanthropist, married Emma Bouvier in 1860, and the couple had three children. They were devout Catholics who devoted a significant amount of their time and resources to charitable endeavors. Despite the fact that Catherine’s two sisters had private education, the family pushed them to teach a Sunday school for the children of the employees of their family’s summer house.

Frances of Assisi, and she made a pledge to herself that, like St.

Instilling in their children the belief that their riches was a loan and that it was intended to be shared with others, particularly those in need, was something both parents did.

At the time, she seriously pondered entering a convent, but she was urged not to make a hasty choice by her religious advisor, Bishop James O’Connor of Omaha, NE, and instead to “wait and pray.” At the time of his death, her father left the greatest estate ever documented in the city of Philadelphia at the time of death.

The remainder of his money was distributed to his favorite charitable organizations.

Religious Vocation – Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament

Catherine and her sisters embarked on a journey to the western region of the United States in 1885, where they visited Indian reservations. After witnessing firsthand the poverty and suffering on the reservations, she set out to alleviate it by constructing schools, distributing food and clothes, and providing pay for instructors on the reservations. She was also successful in locating priests to attend to the spiritual needs of the populace. The St. Catherine Indian School, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was her first boarding school, founded in 1887 by her husband.

  • Pope Leo XIII granted her request.
  • Catherine entered a novitiate with the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh on February 12, 1891, under an agreement with Bishop James O’Connor, with the understanding that she would found her own order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, within two years.
  • As the first Sisters of the new order, she was accompanied by thirteen companions.
  • Elizabeth’s Convent in Cornwells Height (Bensalem Township), Pennsylvania.

Establishment of Schools for Native and African Americans

The establishment and staffing of schools for Native Americans and African Americans throughout the country became a concern for Mother Katharine and the members of her church. When she acquired 1,600 acres near Rock Castle, Virginia, in 1894, she intended to use the land to establish a boarding school for black girls. The institution, originally known as St. Francis de Sales School, opened its doors in 1899. St. Emma’s Church, erected in 1895 by her sister Louise, was close by. St. Emma’s was a residential school for black boys that was founded in 1890.

  • It wasn’t long after that that a school for Pueblo youngsters was created in New Mexico.
  • In 1901, Mother Katharine traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to see St.
  • Because of this, a significant quantity of rail travel was required.
  • Mother Mercedes and she were walking through the forest when she observed a gilded cross sparkling through the trees.
  • Mother Mercedes said that she did not believe this to be the case because she had been informed that there was no Mass performed between Richmond and Lynchburg at the time.
  • She learned that no Masses had been performed in years and that the sole person in residence was an old woman.
  • Francis de Sales to the Chapel once a week to teach catechism.
  • St.
  • Joseph’s.
  • Joseph’s were a member of the community until 1971.

Continuing Expansion of Educational Opportunities

Southern University, a historically black college in New Orleans, was transferred by the state of Louisiana in 1915. After purchasing the unoccupied property, Mother Katharine renamed the institution Xavier College (now Xavier University). The major goal of the institution was to train lay teachers who would then go on to work in rural Louisiana, mostly in schools for African-American children. Xavier was the first and only Catholic institution for African-Americans in the United States, as well as a pioneer in coeducational education.

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Sylvester Eisenmann, a Benedictine priest, in 1922 at the motherhouse in Pennsylvania, pleading for aid on her behalf.

Mother Katharine was moved to tears by his narrative, but she felt she couldn’t spare any of her Sisters to go and teach school since she didn’t have the resources.

The following day, she decided to go back on her choice.

Paul Mission in Marty, where they had begun their teaching duties. Within a decade, the 23 Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament had taken over the education of more than 400 Native American children at St. Paul’s Mission in New Orleans.

A Life Dedicated to God

Because she had taken a vow of poverty, Mother Katharine was forced to live with extreme austerity for the remainder of her life, wearing only one pair of shoes for 10 years and using her pencils right down to the erasers. Meanwhile, she was receiving more than $1,000 a day from her father’s trust, which was a significant portion of her income. She dedicated her life and personal fortune of $20 million to her profession from the time she was 33 years old until her death at the age of 66. She was a tireless worker who personally reviewed each request for assistance, frequently noting her decision on the letter of inquiry she sent out to the community.

  • Her top priorities were the construction of religious buildings and the establishment of schools.
  • She mainly limited her responses to appeals for assistance to the purchase of property and the construction of structures, with the exception of a few instances in which she paid wages.
  • Because of her approach, she was able to avoid dispute with the priests and bishops in charge of the missions she funded to an almost total extent.
  • Mother Katharine suffered a major heart attack in 1935, and for the rest of her life she was confined to a wheelchair.
  • Elizabeth’s Convent, where she passed away in 2007.
  • There were 501 members of her order at the time of her death, who were teaching at 63 schools and missions in 21 states, including Virginia.

Canonization of Saint Katharine Drexel

After Mother Katharine’s death, her Sisters and fans were moved by her commitment to pursue the cause of her canonization less than ten years after her death. In 1987, she was credited with the miraculous cure of a man’s deaf ear, which was widely reported at the time. Pope John Paul II conferred the honor of being called “Blessed” upon her. A 17-month-old infant was proclaimed deaf after her intervention was judged to have resulted in the cure of his deafness in 1999. On October 1, 2000, she was declared “Saint Katharine Drexel” by Pope John Paul II.

For information about Saint Katharine Drexel, we are grateful to the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament of the Most Holy Redeemer.

St. Katharine Drexel – Saints & Angels

It is the Catholic Church’s honor to canonize St. Katharine Drexel, who was born in America and is the second American-born saint to receive this honor. Amazing lady who became a religious sister and an outstanding educator after inheriting a huge inheritance from her benefactor. Katherine Drexel was born on November 26, 1858, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the second child of Francis Anthony Drexel, a distinguished and rich banker, and his wife, Hannah Langstroth. It was just five weeks after Katharine’s birth when her mother passed away.

  • Around their lives, the sisters had an excellent education from private tutors and toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.
  • She and her husband were committed in the practice of their faith, and they provided a good example of authentic Christian living for their three children to follow.
  • Katharine grew up witnessing her father pray for 30 minutes each evening as part of his daily routine.
  • The pair helped individuals in need by distributing food, clothes, and providing rent assistance to them.
  • Despite the fact that Katharine made her social debut in 1879, she never allowed the wealth of her family to have an unfavorable effect on the way she lived her life and her beliefs.
  • After witnessing her stepmother suffer from terminal cancer for three years in a row, Katharine understood that no amount of money could protect them from the anguish and suffering that they were experiencing.
  • A deep love for God and neighbor instilled in her as a result of this experience, and she developed a keen interest in the financial and spiritual well being of African-Americans and Native Americans.

She was anxious to be of assistance to them.

He was a fantastic source of guidance for her spiritual life.

He drafted his will in such a manner that it would shield his daughters from guys who were simply interested in their money.

It is anticipated that the Drexel estate will be divided among numerous religious organizations and charities, including the Society of Jesus, the Religious of Sacred Heart, the Lutheran Hospital, and the Christian Brothers if there are no grandchildren.

Francis Mission of South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation as one of their first acts of kindness.

When the Drexel sisters visited Rome in 1887 as part of their European tour, Pope Leo XIII granted them an audience in private.

After looking Katharine in the eyes, the Pope advised that she consider becoming a missionary herself.

“The feast of St.

In 1889, Katharine began a six-month postulancy at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Pittsburgh, where she would remain for the rest of her life.

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Mother Katharine became the founder of a religious society known as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, whose members would labor for the improvement of those they were called to serve under the name Mother Katharine.

Mother Katharine was instrumental in the establishment of the first mission boarding school in the United States, St.

Other schools sprung up shortly, including ones for Native Americans living west of the Mississippi River and for black people living in the southern section of the country.

John the Baptist Province to assist in staffing a mission for the Navajos in Arizona and New Mexico, and she also pledged to contribute to the friars’ work with the Pueblo Native Americans.

Katherine established Xavier University in New Orleans in 1915, making it the first Catholic university in the United States to admit African-American students.

Katharine experienced a heart attack when she was 77 years old, and she was forced to leave her position.

In little journals, she kept track of her daily activities and ambitions.

She was laid to rest at the motherhouse of her order.

Although the order has ceased operations in Haiti, it continues to carry out Katharine’s mission among African-Americans and Native Americans in 21 states.

She was daring in that she took the initiative to confront socioeconomic inequity among minorities, and she was right to do so.

Pope John Paul II beatified and canonized St.

Relics of St. Katharine can be discovered at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as at the Day Chapel of Saint Katharine Drexel Parish in Sugar Grove, Illinois, both of which are located in the state of Illinois.

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Help Now Katharine is the patroness of racial justice and philanthropy, as well as many other causes.

Saint Katharine Drexel

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Three days after her birthday is observed as her feast day on March 3.

Click here for more on Saint Katharine Drexel!

Among other things, St. Katharine Drexel is the patron saint of generosity as well as racial justice. Our patron saint, St. Katharine Drexel, is especially fitting because the Catholic Foundation places a strong emphasis on racial justice in our awarding work and across our organization. As the second daughter of a wealthy banker, St. Katharine (1858-1955) was no stranger to the world of philanthropy. She was born in Philadelphia and raised there. At the time of his death, Katharine’s father bequeathed a portion of his assets to different Catholic organizations and left the remainder to his three daughters.

  1. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Indian Reservation shortly after their father’s passing.
  2. After accepting the invitation, Katharine went on to found a new religious order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, when she was only 33 years old.
  3. She also created Xavier University in New Orleans, which is the only Catholic Historically Black College or University in the United States (HBCU).
  4. Katharine’s purpose to “fight all forms of racism, as well as other deeply-rooted injustices,” is still carried out by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament today.
  5. Katharine’s opposition to racism was a part of her faithful response to God’s call on her life, which included a number of other actions.
  6. The Legacy of Saint Katharine Drexel and the prophetic ways she stood boldly to promote human dignity are discussed in an article published by Franciscan Media.
  7. Katharine’s work for racial justice throughout her life, she valiantly persisted in her efforts to advance God’s kingdom.
  8. In addition, St.
  9. Catholic Foundation of Michigan is actively seeking tangible methods to tackle the sin of systematic racism in our society, and we encourage you to join us in this effort.
  10. Providing funds to schools and organizations that serve disadvantaged communities in under-resourced places carries on St.

Let us ask St. Katharine Drexel, ardent petitioner for social justice and integration, to intercede for us as we fight to achieve racial fairness in charity. Katherine DrexelIcon of Saint Katharine courtesy of www.monasteryicons.com, with permission.

St. Katharine Drexel

The feast of St. Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia heiress who gave up her family’s money to form an order of nuns committed to aiding the destitute African American and American Indian communities of the United States, is celebrated on March 3 by the worldwide Church. The date of Katharine’s birth was November 26, 1858. She was born into an affluent and well-connected banking family. The family’s affluence, on the other hand, did not prevent them from making a significant commitment to their religious beliefs.

  • Both parents raised their daughters to consider of the family’s money not as their own, but rather as a gift from God that should be used to benefit others rather than to enrich themselves.
  • The practice would educate her for a life of service, with a heavy emphasis on education and special care paid to the poor and vulnerable populations.
  • Eventually, even as a laywoman, she would donate a significant amount of her own money to help support the missions and schools in these desperately poor communities.
  • She would make the decision to devote the rest of her life to the social and spiritual development of African-American and American Indian people.
  • Katharine had been contemplating a vocation to cloistered contemplative life as a nun at the time of her encounter with the saint.
  • When she entered monastic life in February 1891, she legally renounced her riches and her personal independence for the sake of getting closer to God and standing in solidarity with the victims of injustice.
  • Much the same situation existed in the case of native American Indians, who had been forcibly relocated into reservations throughout the nineteenth century.
  • Between 1891 and 1935, she was the leader of her order in the establishment and maintenance of nearly 60 schools and missions, most of which were located in the United States’ Western and Southwestern regions.
  • After suffering a severe heart attack, Katharine was forced to retire and spend the next 20 years of her life in a retirement home.

Despite the fact that she was no longer able to lead her order, she left behind a charism of love and concern for the missions that the sisters carried with them. In 1955, she died and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000, more than 50 years after her death.

Saint Katharine Drexel

Katharine Drexel utilized her own riches to support schools for Native Americans and African Americans at the time of her life. In 2000, she was declared a saint.

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Who Was Saint Katharine Drexel?

Saint Katharine Drexel left her life as an heiress behind when she entered the convent in 1891 to become a nun. In the following years, she formed the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament order, and she used her riches to establish additional schools for Native Americans and African Americans throughout the United States of America. She died in 1955, at the age of 96, and was canonized as a Catholic saint in 2000, the same year she passed away.

Early Life

Drexel was born on November 26, 1858, in the Pennsylvania city of Philadelphia. Her father, Francis Anthony Drexel, was a business partner of banker J.P. Morgan. She was born in Philadelphia. Her mother, Hannah Jane (née Langstroth) Drexel, died a month after Drexel’s birth, and her father remarried, this time to Emma Bouvier, in 1860. Drexel’s father died a year after her birth. Her parents were well-known for their humanitarian initiatives, in addition to their considerable financial resources.

However, as a result of her extensive travels around the United States, she was well aware of the tough situations that Native Americans and African Americans were experiencing throughout the country.

Drexel, who had lost both her stepmother and father in 1883 and 1885, desired to utilize her inherited riches to assist these organizations.

On a journey to Europe in 1887, she saw Pope Leo XIII and requested him to propose a religious order that would be able to send missionaries to the institutions she was supporting.

Religious Life and Work

Drexel joined religious life as a novice in 1889, under the guidance of the Sisters of Mercy of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was raised. In 1891, she made her ultimate vows to God. She formed the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People with the support of a few other nuns in the early 1900s (later known simply as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament). The order intended to exploit Drexel’s money to support its activities. During the winter of 1894-95, Drexel and 15 of her other sisters established a school for Native Americans in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Drexel’s decision also resulted in the establishment of several schools for African-American youngsters.

The university changed its name to Xavier University ten years later.

Later Life and Death

Her heart attack occurred in 1935, and two years later she resigned from her position as head of the Order of Eastern Star. Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, was the site of her death on March 3, 1955, when she was 96 years old. During her lifetime, she donated nearly $20 million dollars to organizations that helped those in need. At the time of her death, Drexel’s order had more than 500 members worldwide.

It was with her support that the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament were able to establish 145 missions, 49 primary schools, and 12 high schools. As of today, the order is still engaged in missionary and educational activities.

Canonization as a Saint

Drexel was first considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church in the 1960s. The process began in the 1970s. Drexel was canonized in 1988 when the Vatican determined that prayers to her had helped to restore the hearing of a young girl. Saint Katharine Drexel was canonized as Saint Katharine Drexel by Pope John Paul II in 2000, after being credited with a second healing. Her feast day is celebrated on March 3.

St. Katharine Drexel’s 5 Inspirations for Catholic Philanthropists

Contributed by Kelce Gussie, the Undergraduate Philanthropy Leadership Intern at FADICA. Most Catholic philanthropists will hear about St. Katharine Drexel, the patron saint of philanthropy, at some time in their careers, and they will hopefully have the opportunity to learn more about her life of service to those in need. Saint Katharine is an exceptionally inspiring figure for Catholic benefactors, as evidenced by the following at least five reasons:

1. St. Katharine chose philanthropy.

Neither St. Katharine nor her family were wealthy, and she did not wish to be born into or inherit such a position. In contrast, St. Katharine made the decision to devote her life to the needy, showing how giving and service may be chosen even when resources or models of giving and service are passed down from generation to generation. Even though she was born into affluence and status, St. Katharine was taught the value of service and charity towards others by her parents, who lived in poverty themselves.

  1. Katharine’s father would pray for 30 minutes at a time during the day, while her step-mother conducted a back-door charity that distributed food, clothing, and money to those who were less fortunate.
  2. Katharine’s call to service was officially issued.
  3. Katharine witnessed Native and Black Americans, as well as the horrible treatment they received from the government, as well as the fact that they received inadequate schooling in comparison to white Americans.
  4. Katharine to broaden her horizons and spread the love she had learned from her parents and grandparents.
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2. St. Katharine practiced philanthropy beyond checkbook philanthropy.

Many Catholic donors regard their charitable work as a vocation, and they strive to engage in charitable activities that go beyond writing checks. As a direct response to this goal, FADICA’s aim is to assist Catholic donors in becoming educated, active, and effective in their grantmaking. St. Katharine began her work with Native and Black Americans by donating money to the reserves and the people who resided on the reservations. After Saint Katharine’s father died, she and her sisters divided their wealth among the missions on South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation, including the St.

  1. She continued to provide financial assistance to those in need until she and her sisters traveled to Rome in 1887.
  2. Kathrine served, the Pope strongly pushed St.
  3. St.
  4. She took her final vows four years later, in 1891, and committed her life to aiding Native Americans and African Americans.
  5. A philanthropist who is a Catholic does not necessarily have to become a member of a religious order (although many Catholic foundations are in fact ministries of men and women religious congregations!).

Nonetheless, the tale of St. Katharine demonstrates how the road of giving may take benefactors to new heights.

3. St. Katharine knew those she served and she empowered them.

The purpose of St. Katharine was to make it possible for persons in need to acquire and be recognized as full citizens of the United States of America. St. Katharine worked closely with and had a thorough understanding of the individuals she served in order to accomplish this. In her early travels to the Midwest, St. Katharine was struck by the dearth of excellent education available there, and she decided to create schools, empowering families in the community to contribute to the construction of the schools and earn their education.


Catholic donors now engage hands-on generosity in meaningful and effective ways that are reminiscent of the hands-on philanthropy shown by St.

Site visits, trainings, collaborative connections, and contributions of time, ability, and experience are just a few examples of what is happening today.

4. St. Katharine was not afraid to start small.

As someone who was committed to helping others, St. Katharine saw that even the tiniest deed might have a significant impact (as St. Katharine pointed out, Christ was born a helpless child who learnt to walk by taking baby steps!). In her speech, she stressed the significance of just beginning and of not being scared to start with little steps. St. Katharine’s favorite picture is one in which she is holding pencil stubs. When she went to schools, she would bring new pencils with her and swap the new pencils for the old pencil stubs with the students in the classroom.

Katharine valued it highly.

Xavier University in New Orleans, the nation’s first Catholic university for African Americans, was created by her in 1915 because she felt that everyone had the right to a high-quality education.

5. St. Katharine kept God at the center.

St. Katharine was confident in her ability to continue her job with love and kindness because of God’s blessings. St. Katharine maintained a constant focus on God throughout her life. She would make the most of every opportunity and would say small prayers throughout the day to keep God in her thoughts at all times. She never allowed stress, activity, or tiredness to force her faith to the back of her mind or to the side of the road. Stress, activity, and weariness continue to be obstacles for philanthropists today, but in a different manner than they were in the previous century.

The importance of remaining rooted in God and grace cannot be overstated for both individual contributors and the Catholic charitable community.

Katharine learnt the importance of service to others at an early age, and she never lost sight of her duty to assist those in need throughout her life.

Her life serves as an example to everyone who are pursuing a philanthropic vocation, demonstrating that every individual possesses intrinsic human dignity and that God must remain at the core of one’s existence.

The research was aided by Image Saint Mary’s Press retains ownership of the copyright (used with permission)

St. Katharine Drexel

In addition to being the heiress of a banking wealth, Katharine Drexel of Philadelphia is well-known as the founder of the American religious order Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and a canonized saint in the Catholic Church. She was born in Philadelphia and raised in New York City. Her most significant contribution to the battle for racial justice in America may have been her participation in that struggle. It was a difficult delivery for Drexel, who was born in 1858; her mother died a month after giving birth, and physicians anticipated to lose the baby as well.

  • Upon their father’s remarriage, she and her sister returned home, and it would be several years before they understood that their father’s new wife, Emma Bouvier, was not their natural mother.
  • Among the wealthiest families in America, Drexel’s ancestors included some of the most significant personalities in American financial and political history, including Katharine Drexel.
  • Her grandfather collaborated with J.
  • Morgan to establish the banking behemoth Drexel, MorganCo., which was eventually renamed J.
  • Morgan.
  • The Drexel family is also linked to Nicholas Biddle, the renowned Philadelphia banker who was president of the Second Bank of the United States and the scourge of Andrew Jackson.
  • The Drexels were a French-Catholic family that were extremely pious and generous with their time and resources.

Every year, they donated around the equivalent of $11 million to philanthropic causes.

Michael the Archangel, which was dominated by a monumental stained-glass window showing the angel.

When she was 14, she explored entering the monastic order, but was discouraged by her parents and her spiritual adviser, Bishop James O’Connor, who feared that the well-to-do young woman would not be able to adjust to the rigors of a convent’s lifestyle.

“I have never been without the comforts of home.” Despite this, she sensed a call to serve.

At the time, Native Americans were being pushed off the quickly decreasing frontier and into reservations.

In 1887, Katharine established the St.

She was the first woman to commit a considerable portion of her own income to missionary and charitable work among American Indians.

He turned the request around on her: the Pope indicated that she was the missionary she was looking for in the first place.

Drexel began her religious career in 1889 as a member of the Sisters of Mercy of Pittsburgh.

In addition to the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, a particular vow was made not to “undertake any work that might result in the neglect or abandonment of the Indian or Colored races.” Drexel decided to postpone sending sisters on missions in the American West until she was confident that they would be fully equipped for the journey.

  1. The Sisters were sent to Drexel University, which had been founded by her uncle, to further their education so that they would be better prepared when the time came to teach their young charges.
  2. Education, according to Katharine, was the key to achieving success.
  3. These Catholic schools were operated by laypeople and were generally associated with a local church or chapel.
  4. In contrast to many religious mission schools, pupils were not required to be or become Catholic in order to join, and the schools explicitly stated that integration was not their objective.
  5. Xavier University, the first historically black Catholic college in the United States, was established to train instructors who would be able to staff the order’s rapidly expanding network of schools and institutions.
  6. Drexel was also interested in public affairs, and he was a vocal champion for the rights of disadvantaged blacks and Native Americans, among other causes.
  7. When it came to working with local officials in the segregated South, the affluent heiress exhibited a firm sense of pragmatism and common sense.
  8. This strategy allowed the Sisters to remain within the letter of local segregation laws—and therefore avoid the closing of their schools—while simultaneously exposing their racial intents.

Although there were occasional clashes with local bigotry, the order’s mother house in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, was bombed while it was under construction in 1899; an order school in Rock Castle, Virginia, was destroyed by arson in 1899; and the Ku Klux Klan threatened to do the same for an order school in Texas in 1922.

Given the fact that she died without children, the corpus of her father’s estate did not transfer to the order she formed, but rather to a number of philanthropic and religious organizations named in his will instead.

Several months later, at a ceremony held in St.

(After her canonization, Katharine’s uncle’s university, which had educated the order’s founding members, extended full scholarships to the once deaf girl and her siblings.

Drexel sat in the back of the room, quiet and unnoticed, at the dedication ceremony. Justin Torres is an American actor and musician. More reading material may be found at:

  • Saint Katharine Drexel (Catholic Book Publishing, 2002)
  • Ellen Tarry, Saint Katharine Drexel: Friend of the Oppressed (Farrar Strauss, 1958)
  • Katherine Burton, The Golden Door: The Life of Katharine Drexel (P. J. Kennedy, 1958)
  • Daniel McSheffery, Saint Katharine Drexel (Catholic Book Publishing, 2002)

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