March 3, 2023 1:54 pm

Commemoration of St. Katherine Drexel. Today is the Commemoration of St. Katherine Drexel.

Born in Philadelphia on 26 November 1958, Katherine was born into a wealthy
railroad family of active philanthropists. Her family taught her to use their
wealth for benefit of others, her parents opening their home to the poor
multiple days per week. Her older sister founded a trade school for orphans, and
her younger sister a school for poor blacks. Katherine nursed her mother through
a fatal three-year illness before setting out on her own.

Katherine was interested in the condition of Native Americans. In 1877, she
asked Pope Leo XIII to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her friend, Bishop
O’Connor. The Holy Father replied, “Why don’t you become a missionary?” She went
to the Dakotas and began aid programs for the Indian missions, eventually
spending millions of her family’s fortune. She entered the novitiate with the
Sisters of Mercy. In 1891, Mother Katherine founded a community of women
religious now known as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She was advised by
Mother St. Frances X. Cabrini on getting her order’s rule approved in Rome. By
1942, Mother Drexel had established a system of black Catholic schools in
thirteen states, forty mission centers, twenty-three rural schools, fifty Indian
missions, and Xavier University in New Orleans, the first American university
for blacks. Segregationists harassed her work all along.

After suffering a heart attack, she spent her last twenty years in prayer. She
died on this date in 1955 at her motherhouse in Pennsylvania. St. John Paul II
canonized her in October of 2000.

St. Katherine Drexel, pray for us!