St. Katharine Drexel

St. Katharine DrexelFeast Day – March 3

Patron Saint of missionaries and the oppressed

Katharine Drexel is one of our few American-born saints.  She was born in 1858 to a wealthy family in Philadelphia.   From an early age, she felt that a religious calling would be in her future.  She was especially interested in using her family’s wealth to support black and native Americans.  While she would have preferred a life closed away in a contemplative order, the pope himself told her to wait and pray before making that commitment.  Instead she found herself called to open mission schools throughout the United States for both blacks and native Americans.  She even founded Xavier University in New Orleans.  Her vocation had taken such root deep in the faith and trust of God that when she died in 1955, 500 sisters were teaching at the 63 schools she had established.

St. Katharine Drexel could have had an easy life.  Set to inherit millions of dollars in her age (which would have been closer to a billion today), she had a long line of suitors with plenty of people to serve all her needs.  However her heart was moved with compassion upon learning of the plight of blacks and Native Americans in our country.  And rather than be served, she wished to serve others.

May we too find compassion in our hearts for those who have not been treated fairly in our own daily lives and may we teach our children that compassion for others as well.

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