Joe Kenney Sculpture
About St. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955)
Saint Katharine Drexel, Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with
love for God and neighbor. Katharine's traveling experiences throughout the northwest exposed her to the
plight of the Native Americans on the reservations. This gave her the desire to help alleviate their suffering
along with the oppressed among the Black people. 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.
When visiting with Pope Leo XIII in Rome, Katharine asked him for missionaries to staff some of the
Indian missions that she as a lay person was financing. She was surprised to hear the Pope suggest that she
become a missionary herself. Katharine made the decision to give herself totally to God through service to
Black and Native Americans.
On February 12, 1891, after her novitiate at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh, Katharine
made vows as a religious, founding the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.
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 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 and Canonized as a Saint on October 1,
Religious Feast Day: March 3
Joe Kenney Sculptures of St. Katharine links below:
More Information about St. Katharine Drexel: