Saint Katharine Drexel is the second American-born person to be canonized by the Catholic Church and her Feast Day is today, March 3. Katharine was born to wealthy parents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 1858, but her mother died just a few weeks after Katharine was born due to complications from childbirth. Katharine’s father remarried to a woman named Emma Bouvier who raised Katharine and her sister as her own children and who showed them by example the meaning of kindness and charity because Emma was very active in helping the less fortunate and involving her kids in community outreach. The Drexel family was deeply faithful and believed that their wealth was a temporary gift that should be used to help other people.
Katharine was troubled by the suffering and ill treatment of Black people and Native-American people at the time so she devoted her life and her fortune to helping them. She founded many schools for Native-Americans and African-Americans, including the first Black Catholic college.
Saint Katharine could have used her wealth and social status to marry another wealthy person, but instead, after meeting Pope Leo XIII and at his suggestion, she became a Missionary, and founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People in 1891. It was headline making news when she chose religious life over high society.
Saint Katharine lived to the age of 96, and she was beatified in 1988 by Pope John Paul II. There is a shrine to St. Katharine in Bensalem, PA, where her remains are entombed, but if you wish to visit it you had better do it soon as the place has been put up for sale and will only permit the public to continue to visit until the end of 2017.
MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals – including Siberian Husky Dalmatian Lab Puppies and their parents.
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