Last week, on March 3rd, we celebrated the feast of St. Katharine Drexel, an American saint who was deeply devoted to the interests of African-American and Native communities. Born in 1858, Katharine Drexel was raised in a wealthy family but donated her personal inheritance and spent her life dedicated to fighting all forms of prejudice, racism and oppression. St. Katharine Drexel founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Black and Native American peoples in 1891 to serve the material and spiritual needs of disadvantaged communities.
Throughout her life, St. Katharine Drexel worked tirelessly for others. At the time of her death in 1955, her order had grown to over 500 sisters, teaching in 63 schools across the country. These Blessed Sacrament Sisters work among Native American and African American communities as educators, nurses, home visitors, pastoral assistants and social workers. Of the schools in which these sisters taught, they included the first school for Native Americans in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was founded by Katharine.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Katharine, making her the second recognized American-born saint. Today, we remember her faith and selfless devotion to oppressed communities. St. Katharine Drexel, pray for us!