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Katharine Mary Drexel (November 26, 1858March 3, 1955) is a Roman Catholic Saint. Katharine dedicated her life and inheritance to the needs of oppressed Native Americans and Blacks in the West and Southwest United States, and was a vocal advocate of racial tolerance. To address racial injustice and destitution and spread the Gospel to these groups, Katharine established a religious order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. Because Katharine felt a universal need for education, especially among Blacks and Native Americans, she financed more than 60 missions and schools around the United States. Because of her lifelong dedication to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John Paul II canonized her on October 1, 2000, to become only the second recognized American-born saint (after Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1975).


Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988. The Vatican identified in Katharine a fourfold legacy: A love of the Eucharist and her perspective on the unity of all peoples; courage and initiative in addressing social inequality among minorities; her efforts to achieve quality education for all; and her selfless service, including the donation of her inheritance, for the victims of injustice. She is known as the Patron Saint of racial justice and of philanthropists.

Her feast day is March 3, the anniversary of her death. She is buried in Cornwells Heights, Bensalem Townshipmarker.

Saint Katharine Drexel Mission Center and Shrine

The Saint Katharine Drexel Mission Center and Shrine is located at 1663 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, Pennsylvaniamarker. The Mission Center offers retreat programs, historic site tours, days of prayer, presentations about Saint Katharine Drexel, and lectures and seminars related to her legacy. Furniture and exhibits tell the story of St. Katharine Drexel, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, and the accomplishments of black and Native American people.

The saint's tomb lies under the main altar in St. Elizabeth Chapel, where visitors may pray daily.

Parishes and schools named for St. Katherine Drexel

Numerous Catholic parishes and schools bear the name of St. Katherine Drexel.

See also

References and notes

Tarry, Ellen (1958). St. Katharine Drexel - Friend of the Oppressed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, Inc.

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