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How Did St. Katharine Drexel Become a Saint?

St. Katharine Drexel was an American Catholic nun who dedicated her life to serving the needs of the poor and less fortunate beings. She was born in 1858, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a wealthy family, much like Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Katharine’s father was a successful banker and known philanthropist in the Pennsylvania area. Her mother was extremely religious and decided to raise her daughter as one, teaching her to have compassion for those in need, no matter what.

And although the family was extremely rich, they were always helping those who were less lucky. Growing up, the young Katharine was deeply influenced by the Catholic Church and everything it taught, especially for the preaching and emphasis on the dignity and worth of every person, and decided to use her life to make a change.

Katharine decided to use her family’s wealth and resources to make a change in the world for the better, and in 1887, she founded the “Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament,” a religious order dedicated to serving the needs of African American and Native American communities. Throughout her life, Saint Katharine worked very hard to address the social and economic injustices faced by minorities and never stopped until she reached her goal. She helped build schools and churches and established missions throughout the United States.

She is the reason the Xavier University in New Orleans, the only Catholic university in the United States dedicated to serving African American students, was created. St. Katharine Drexel was a passionate advocate for social justice. She spoke out against discrimination and worked to promote a greater understanding and respect between different cultural and religious groups.


When Did Catholicism Appear in The United States of America?

Catholicism has a long and complicated history. In the United States, from the first Spanish explorers to the present day, Catholicism has played a crucial role in shaping the country’s religious and cultural landscape. The first Catholic Mass in what is now the United States was celebrated by Spanish explorers in Florida in 1565. Catholicism spread to other Spanish colonies in the Southwest, as well as French colonies in the Mississippi Valley and British colonies in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Many Protestants viewed the Church with suspicion and hostility, seeing it as a threat to American values and institutions. In the 19th century, anti-Catholic sentiment was a major political issue. That resulted in the formation of the nativist Know-Nothing Party. And although these challenges rose, the Catholic Church in the United States continued to grow and thrive.

The 19th century saw a massive influx of Catholic immigrants, particularly from Ireland and Germany, who formed their own parishes and built a network of schools, hospitals, and social service organizations.

This new brand of Catholicism was embodied by figures like John Ireland, the Archbishop of St. Paul, who championed the rights of Catholics and other marginalized groups. The 20th century saw even greater growth and transformation for the Catholic Church in the United States.

The Second Vatican Council, held in the 1960s, ushered in a period of dramatic change and modernization for the Church, including reforms to liturgy, doctrine, and social teachings. Around this time, the Catholic Church also became increasingly diverse and multicultural. Immigrants from Latin America, Asia, and other parts of the world brought their own traditions and practices to the Church.

st katharine drexel

What Did St. Katharine Drexel Do?

St. Katharine Drexel used her influence and family’s wealth to support a wide range of social justice causes, including efforts to combat poverty, provide healthcare to the sick and elderly, and promote access to education as well as train people for certain jobs. Saint Katharine’s selfless dedication to serving the needs of the poor and marginalized earned her widespread admiration and respect, both within the Catholic Church and beyond.

She was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II in 2000 in recognition of her lifelong commitment to social justice and her unwavering faith in the power of the Catholic Church to transform lives and communities. The legacy of Saint Katharine Drexel lives on through the work of the “Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament” and other organizations dedicated to the same cause.

Through her order, St. Katharine Drexel established schools, missions, and other institutions throughout the United States, particularly in the South and West. She also used her personal wealth to fund these efforts and advocated for greater attention to the needs of marginalized communities. St. Katharine’s life and example serve as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of faith, compassion, and social justice, and her message continues to inspire people of all faiths and backgrounds to work towards a more just and equitable world every single day.


Who Were the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament?

In 1891, St. Katharine Drexel founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, a congregation of religious women dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of African Americans and Native Americans. The sisters established schools and missions throughout the United States, including Xavier University in New Orleans, which was the only Catholic university for African Americans at the time. The sisters’ main mission is to serve the spiritual and material needs of African Americans and Native Americans, especially those who don’t have much.

The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament also established St. Catherine’s Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which provided education and healthcare to Native American children. The congregation also founded schools and missions in the Caribbean and South America, where they worked to improve people’s lives.

The work of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament was challenging. However, they persisted in their mission, relying on donors’ generosity and their local communities support.

Today, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament continue their mission of serving African Americans and Native Americans. They operate schools and missions throughout the United States, including the St. Katharine Drexel Mission Center and Shrine in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, which honors the life and legacy of their founder.

The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament is a testament to the power of faith and service to others. Through their dedication and perseverance, they have improved the lives of countless individuals and communities and continue to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.