St. Katharine Drexel, Religious
by Catholic.org | Source: Catholic.net
in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine
became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the material and
spiritual well-being of black and native Americans. She began by donating money but soon concluded
that more was needed - the lacking ingredient was people.
Katharine founded the
Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Black and Native
American peoples, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve.
From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million
dollars to this work.
In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the first
mission school for Indians, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed - for Native Americans
west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the
southern part of the United States. In 1915 she also
founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools
throughout the country. Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul
II on November 20, 1988.
Because of her lifelong dedication
to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John
Paul II canonized her on October 1, 2000 to become
only the second recognized American-born saint.
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