Skip to comments.Saint Katharine Drexel-A Woman Of The 19th And 20th Century
Posted on 03/03/2003 8:25:01 PM PST by Lady In Blue
Francis Anthony and Hannah Langstroth Drexel gave birth to their second daughter Katharine, on November 26, 1858. One month after Katharine's birth, Hannah passed away. For two years, Katharine and her older sister Elizabeth were cared for by their aunt and uncle, Mr. & Mrs. Anthony J. Drexel. In 1860, Katharine's father, a well known banker and philanthropist, married Emma Bouvier and in 1863 a daughter, Louise was born. The three children were raised in a home of deep faith and tender love.
In 1870, Mr. Drexel purchased a summer home, Saint Michel. in Torresdale, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth and Katharine taught at the Sunday School that Emma Drexel began for the children of employees and neighbors. They spent two afternoons a week helping their mother to service the poor. Their pastor was Reverend James O'Connor, formerly the rector of St. Charles Seminary, and later the bishop of Omaha, Nebraska. He became a cherished family friend, and Katharine's spiritual director. The girls were educated by tutors, and their parents took them on tours of the United States and Europe.
When Katharine was twenty-one, her mother developed cancer, and Katharine nursed her through three years of intense suffering. During this time, the thought of religious life came to her constantly and forcibly. After her mother's death, she wrote for counsel to Bishop O'Connor. As to her call to the religious life itself, he advised her to "Think, pray, and wait."
Mr. Drexel died in 1885. By the terms of his will Katharine and her sisters were, during their lifetime, beneficiaries of the income from his estate. Through the great Indian missionary, Monsignor Joseph Stephan and Katharine became acquainted with the sufferings of the American Indians. With her two sisters, she visited the reservations to see conditions and needs. She began to build schools on the reservations, supplying food, clothing, furnishings, and salaries for teachers. She also found priests to serve the spiritual needs of the people. As she became aware of the suffering of the Black people of the South and East, she extended her charity to them. Throughout her lifetime, through the Bureau of Colored and Indian Missions, she encouraged and financially supported missions throughout this country and abroad.
In 1889 Katharine obtained Bishop O'Connor's consent to become a religious. Her preference was for a cloistered life, but he encouraged her to found an institute to work for the Indians and Colored People. She hesitated at the idea of founding a religious institute but came to accept this as her vocation. On November 7, 1889, she received the religious habit and the name of Sister Mary Katharine. At Bishop O'Connor's death, Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan of Philadelphia became her spiritual guide.
On February 12, 1891, Katharine Drexel pronounced her vows as the first Sister of the Blessed Sacrament. With thirteen companions, she returned to St. Michel.
In 1892 they moved to St. Elizabeth's Convent in Cornwell Heights, now Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The burden of administration and guidance of her congregation in the Eucharistic spirit, the total gift of self, rested on her for forty-four years.
Missionary work began with the opening of a boarding school for Black children, and then one among the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. In 1902, St. Michael's School on the Navajo Indian reservation, was opened. As the years passed, boarding and day schools were opened in the East, the Midwest, and in the rural and urban areas of the South and Southwest. In 1917, a school to prepare teachers was established in New Orleans, which received a charter in 1925 as Xavier University of New Orleans.
In 1935, Saint Katharine suffered a severe heart attack, and for the next twenty years lived in prayerful retirement. Her interest and love for the missions deepened, until her death on March 3, 1955. She is interred in the crypt of the Motherhouse Chapel, the Saint Katharine Drexel Shrine.
In the opinion of her contemporaries, she was truly saintly. It was their belief that she was singled out by God's grace. She was a source of inspiration, a model for imitation.
St. Katharine established many ministries from 1891 until her death in 1955. She led a life devoted to uplifting the minds and spirits of Native and African American women, men, and children. Founding and staffing schools for both Native and African Americans throughout the country became a priority for St. Katharine and her congregation. During her lifetime, she opened, staffed, and directly supported nearly sixty schools and missions. St. Katharine also founded Xavier University of Louisiana, the only predominantly Black Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States.
St. Katharine's Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament have joyously and faithfully continued her work for Eucharistic social justice since her death in 1955, despite no longer having her financial resources. St. Katharine's inherited wealth was disbursed according to her father's will to various charities, not including the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament; the congregation was founded after her father's death.
1964 - Introduction of Cause of Canonization The Cause for Canonization was formally opened in 1964 by John Cardinal Krol. Her Cause has advanced as of October 7, 1999. Regarding a healing under investigation, the Medical Board at the Vatican in Rome stated: "There is no natural cause for the cure attributed to St. Katharine Drexel." Katharine Drexel was canonized October 1, 2000.
Saint Katharine Drexel, pray for us.
Time is the purchase money of grace, salvation, and enve God Himself. All the riches, all the honors of the world are not of as great a value as a moment of time, in which we can gain an increase of glory and best of all glory to God by a single act of love which would not occupy a minute's consideration; how important it is to make good use of time, while it is granted to me. Of what fearful grace am I not guilty if I lose it. The days of man are short, and the number of his months are with you. If I live to eighty-two there is now two years five months and it may be today; tomoorw, I must work the works of Him that sent me, whie it is day; the night comes when no man can work, for if such were needful to him how much more me. You know that if you prefer His service to every good while the choice is in your power, you honor Him. Behold Lord, infinite in goodness, dreadful in majesty, and unspeakable in all perfections, I make an absolute divorce from all self-love, sensuality, and affection to creatures and give myself by an absolute donation. I am nothing, I have nothing, I can do no good; I am an unprofitable servant I utterly hate and distrust myself and totally rely upon You, O my Lord, my lover, and my all, and upon my life to live, Mother, your gift to me from the cross; this total denegation of self and surrender of will of God is contained in these words, "Lord, what do you wish to with me" and in it as far depended on Paul. All his salvation resolved from that moment forward to permit none of his faculties of mind or sense to serve the animal or sensual life. He delivered himself over to the service of the Almighty in whatever manner or direction should become known to him as being the Divine Will, ready to execute it without delay or question. As the most High searches the secrets of the human heart, he saw the sincerity with which Saint Paul corresponded with his vocation and yielded to his divine will and disposition. He not only received him with pleasure but multiplied exceedingly his graces, gifts, and wonderful favors which he would not have received or even have merited without this entire submission to the wishes of the Lord. Forget the visible, the apparent, and deceitful.
-Saint Katharine Drexel
(Check out my thread of Magnificat: Story of the Little Prayer Book That Could (George Weigel on the Magnificat))
One of our more modern pastors was building a new church and it was quite expensive. We were all wondering what new and innovative structural blight was going to be inflicted on the desert people. Well,we learned that he had gone back east and had studied the architecture of some of the old churches. To our amazement he came back with gorgeous old stained glass windows and relics and miracle of miracles the altar from Saint Catharine Drexel's private chapel. It is so beautiful and so is the church. It is just incredible that we now have one of the most beautiful churches built over the past 40 years in this country.
Many of us believe that Mother knew where her altar was going and guided him to build a church that would befit her private altar.Something struck him and whatever it was we are all grateful. He has also become much more orthodox and Catholic than he once was. Three cheers and a lot of thanks to her. We are happy!!
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.'" He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to (the) poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through (the) eye of (a) needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God." Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and (the) last will be first."
BTTT on 03-03-05!
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