In a private audience with Pope Leo XIII, Katherine asked the Pope to send missionary priests to the Indians. The Pope responded, “Why not my child, yourself become a missionary?”
St. Katherine Drexel was the founder of the sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and lived from 1858-1955. She was born into one of the wealthiest families in America and was left a trust fund, with her two sisters, of 14 million dollars. All of them were devout Catholics and used this trust as an opportunity to glorify God through service to others. She felt especially drawn to care for the poorest of the poor–Native Americans and black people. She felt they were being ignored by the Church and society as well. She endowed scores of schools on reservations.
In 1887, during her private audience with Pope Leo XIII, she received the impetus to move forward in her care for the poor. The Pope encouraged her to become a missionary herself. With his backing and blessing, Katherine started her own order serving the needs of Native Americans and blacks. She used her trust to fund several Catholic organizations and founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic college for black students.
Mother Drexel died at the dawn of the civil rights movement on March 3, 1955. She was canonized by Pope Saint John Paul in 2000.
Often in my desire to work for others some hostile influence renders me powerless. My prayers seem to avail nothing. In such cases I must not grieve. I am only treading in my Master’s steps.
—-St. Katharine Drexel, pray for us!
Artifacts belonging to Pope Leo XIII are on Papal Artifacts/Leo XIII. His biography, additional photos, a YouTube and coat of arms are also featured on Papal History/Leo XIII.
Saint Katharine Drexel and Saint John Paul, pray for us!