St Katharine Drexel – Feast Day – March 3

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Today is Sunday, February 18, 2024

St Katharine Drexel (Catherine Mary Drexel) was born on November 26 1858 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. She died on March 3 1955 at the age of 96 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S.

She was the foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and the second U.S born citizen to be canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church.

We celebrate her feast day on March 3 every year in the Catholic Church.

Saint Katharine Drexel is the Patron Saint of Philanthropy, racial justice

St Katharine Drexel Biography
St Katharine Drexel - Feast Day - March 3
St Katharine Drexel – Feast Day – March 3
Date of Birth November 26 1858
Place of Birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Profession Philanthropist, religious sister, educator, and foundress
Place of Work Pennsylvania, U.S.
Date of Death March 3 1955 (aged 96)
Place of Death Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S
Feast Day March 3
Beatification By Pope John Paul II in November 20 1988
Canonization By Pope John Paul II in October 1 2000
Patron Saint of Philanthropy, racial justice

St Katharine Drexel Life History

Katharine Drexel was born on November 26, 1858, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She was the second child of Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Langstroth.

Francis Anthony was a prominent banker and philanthropist. Katharine was brought up with the belief that their family’s wealth was not solely theirs and should be used for the benefit of others, a value instilled by both of her parents.

During a family trip to the western region of the United States, Katharine Drexel, while still a young woman, witnessed the difficult living conditions and poverty faced by Native American communities.

This experience fueled her desire to take action and provide assistance to these communities. It marked the beginning of her lifelong commitment to financially and personally support various missions and missionaries throughout the United States.

In 1887, Katharine Drexel established the St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was her first school.

While visiting Pope Leo XIII in Rome and seeking missionaries to help with the Indian missions that she was funding as a layperson, she was taken aback when the Pope suggested that she become a missionary herself.

Following discussions with her spiritual advisor, Bishop James O’Connor, she made the decision to devote her life and inheritance to God through service to Native Americans and African Americans.

After dedicating herself to a life of service to Native Americans and African Americans, Katharine Drexel renounced her wealth and embraced a life of simplicity, where only basic necessities were enough for her.

She took her first vows as a religious on February 12 1891, and founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

The mission of the order was to spread the teachings of the Gospel and the importance of the Eucharist among Native American and African American communities.

Katharine Drexel was a woman of deep faith and spent much of her time in prayer. She found solace and inspiration in the Eucharist, which fueled her passion for helping the poor and marginalized and combating the impacts of racism.

She recognized that many African Americans still faced significant challenges and were often forced to live in substandard conditions as sharecroppers or low-wage workers.

They were also denied the same rights to education and constitutional protections as others. This realization sparked a deep sense of compassion within her and an urgent desire to transform racial attitudes in the United States.

During that time, plantations were deeply entrenched in society, and people of color were still subjected to oppression.

This deeply offended Katharine’s sense of justice. She recognized the pressing need for quality education among African Americans and began discussing the issue with like-minded individuals who shared her concerns about the inequality of educational opportunities for people of color living in urban areas.

In addition to facing social oppression, people of color in the rural South were also restricted by laws that prevented them from obtaining a basic education.

As a result, Katharine Drexel made it her top priority to establish and staff schools for both Native Americans and African Americans throughout the country.

Over the course of her lifetime, she established, staffed, and supported nearly 60 schools and missions, with a particular emphasis on those located in the western and southwestern regions of the United States.

One of her most significant accomplishments in the field of education was the establishment of Xavier University of Louisiana in 1925, which is the only predominantly African American Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States.

In addition to founding and supporting schools, Katharine and her congregation also engaged in other ministries, including religious education, social service, visiting homes, hospitals, and prisons.

Katharine was a determined activist who combined prayerful dependence on Divine Providence with joyful incisiveness and attentiveness to the Holy Spirit.

Her prophetic witness raised awareness in the Church about the urgent need for an apostolate among Native Americans and African Americans.

She was not afraid to speak out against injustice and publicly stood up against racial discrimination. In the last 18 years of her life, Katharine was almost completely immobile due to a serious illness.

During this time, she devoted herself to a life of adoration and contemplation, as she had desired since childhood.

At the time of Katharine Drexel’s death, she had mentored and brought to her fold more than 500 Sisters who were teaching in 63 schools throughout the United States. Additionally, she had founded 50 missions for Native Americans in 16 different states.

At the age of 77, Katharine Drexel suffered a heart attack, which forced her to retire. She spent the rest of her life in quiet and intense prayer, recording her prayers and aspirations in small notebooks.

Death

Katharine Drexel passed away on March 3 1955 at the age of 96 and was buried at her order’s motherhouse.

Following her death, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament lost the Drexel fortune that had supported their ministries, as Katharine’s sisters had no children to inherit it.

Nonetheless, the order continues to pursue Katharine’s mission of serving African-Americans and Native Americans in 21 states and in Haiti.

Following her death on March 3 1955, Katharine bequeathed a powerful and multifaceted legacy to her order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who continue to uphold her mission, as well as to people worldwide.

This legacy includes her profound devotion to the Eucharist, her unwavering commitment to prayer, and her belief in the Eucharist’s unifying power across all cultures and communities.

Katharine also left behind a legacy of fearlessness and bold initiative in confronting social injustices that affected minority groups, a passion that emerged a century before such concerns became widespread in the United States.

Additionally, she championed the importance of providing access to high-quality education for all, and dedicated herself entirely to selflessly serving those who were victims of injustice, giving up her inheritance and all material possessions.

Beatification and Canonization

On November 20, 1988, Pope John Paul II beatified Drexel after her first miracle was accepted. The miracle involved the healing of a severe ear infection in a teenager named Robert Gutherman through Drexel’s prayer in 1974.

She was later canonized on October 1 2000, after her 1994 miracle of reversing congenital deafness in a 2-year-old named Amy Wall was recognized.

Parishes named in Honour of St Katharine Drexel

  • St. Katharine Drexel Mission of Trenton, Georgia
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Cascade, Idaho
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Springfield, Illinois
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Sugar Grove, Illinois
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Frederick, Maryland
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Roxbury, Massachusetts
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Ramsey, Minnesota
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Alton, New Hampshire
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Burlington, New Jersey
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Buffalo, New York
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Bentleyville, Pennsylvania
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Chester, Pennsylvania
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Lansford, Pennsylvania
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Pleasant Mount, Pennsylvania
  • St. Joseph’s Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel, Columbia, Virginia
  • St. Katharine Drexel Mission of Haymarket, Virginia
  • Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church’s shrine of Saint Katharine Drexel, Carencro, Louisiana
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Parish of Maple, North Carolina
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Parish of Ione, California
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Parish of Martell, California
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Parish of Cape Coral, Florida
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Parish of Venice, Florida
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Parish of Weston, Florida
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Parish of Hempstead, Texas
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of Kaukauna, Wisconsin
  • St. Katharine Drexel Parish of New Orleans

Schools Named in Honour of Saint Katharine Drexel

  • Katharine Drexel Elementary School of Broussard, Louisiana
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Adult Learning Center – Catholic Charities of Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Preparatory – Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Preparatory High School New Orleans
  • Saint Katharine Drexel Regional Catholic School of Holland, Pennsylvania
  • Saint Katharine Drexel School (previously St. Germaine School) of Pittsburgh
  • Saint Katharine Drexel School of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
  • Saint Katharine Drexel School of Philadelphia
  • Saint Katharine Drexel School of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Saint Katharine Drexel School of St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
  • Saint Katharine Drexel School of St. Louis
  • Saint Katharine Drexel School of Wichita, Kansas

Streets and Places Named in Honour of Saint Katharine Drexel

  • Drexel Avenue, Oak Creek, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. (Drexel Towne Centre, Oak Creek, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.)
  • Drexel Drive, New Orleans, LA
  • Drexel Road, Tucson, Arizona
  • Katharine Drexel library located on Knights Road in Philadelphia, PA.
  • The Saint Katharine Drexel Region of the Secular Franciscan Order

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About Laban Thua Gachie 10720 Articles
The founder of Catholicreadings.org is Laban Thua Gachie. I am a Commissioned Lector, a commissioned Liturgy Minister, and a Commissioned member of the Catholic Men Association. We at Catholic Daily Readings, operate the catholicreadings.org, a Catholic Church-related website and we pride ourself in providing you, on a daily basis the following; 1. Catholic Daily Mass Readings 2. Reflections on those Daily Readings 3. Daily prayers 4. Bible Verse of the Day 5. Saint of the Day