St. Katharine Drexel

Artist: 
Br. Robert Lentz, OFM

Artist's Narrative:
Katharine Drexel was born into a wealthy Philadelphia family. As a young woman she became aware of the suffering of Native Americans on their newly established reservations in the western part of the United States. She began using money from her inheritance to establish schools on the reservations and to send food and clothing to the people. In time she expanded her efforts to include impoverished Blacks in the southern and eastern states.

From the time she was 21 years old, Katharine had wanted to become a religious sister. Six years later the bishop of Omaha, Nebraska, encouraged her to found a religious community to work among Native American and Black peoples. She founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1891. For 44 years she guided her new congregation, founding schools in New Mexico, Arizona, and throughout the eastern half of the country. In 1917 she founded what would become Xavier University in New Orleans.

In 1935 she suffered a severe heart attack and spent the remaining 20 years of her life in retirement and prayer.

Her feast day is March 3.

Read More...

Return to Previous Art Display.