Thursday, March 11, 2010

Saint Katherine Drexel

There's a Road Named After Her in Tucson

I am playing catch up with my emails since our return from Tucson last week.  Here is what my friend Norm Sutherland, a fellow Canadian who winters in Tucson with His Dear Wife reported last week on her feast day, but which I only came across this afternoon.

Drexel Rd in Tucson  is named after St. Katharine Drexel because she served in Tucson. She was from a rich family in Philadelphia (like Princess Grace Kelly)  and died in 1955.  She was canonized by Pope John Paul 11 in 1988.

St. Katharine Drexel

Feastday: March 3

Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans. She began by donating money but soon concluded that more was needed - the lacking ingredient was people. Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to this work. In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the first mission school for Indians, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed - for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the southern part of the United States. In 1915 she also founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country. Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988. 

Because of her lifelong dedication to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John Paul II canonized her on October 1, 2000 to become only the second recognized American-born saint.

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