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Francis Drexel, a wealthy Philadelphia banker, gave generously to charity.  Francis’ wife, Emma Bouvier, opened their home three times a week to give food and clothes to the poor.  Their daughter, Katharine was formed by this example.  But when fourteen year old Katharine was called by Christ, her family dissuaded her.  She too had her own doubts.  “I do not know how I could bear privations of poverty of the religious life.  I have never been deprived of luxuries.”

In her travels to America West, Katharine saw the squalor and poverty of the Native American reservations.  After her father’s death in 1885, she used her inheritance to fund schools for the native people.   A visit to Pope Leo XIII to beg for missionaries reawakened the desire of her youth.  “Why don’t you go to them yourself” he suggested.

In 1891, Katharine and thirteen companions pledged to serve African Americans and Native Americans as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

Katharine’s strength was the Eucharist, and she wished to share the love of Christ through her missions.  Schools were a priority.  In 1915, she established Xavier University, the first Catholic university for African Americans.  Katharine died in 1955, having founded one hundred and forty- five missions and over sixty schools.

On August 2, 2018, Saint Katharine Drexel’s sacred remains were translated from the Motherhouse of the Community she founded, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Make a trip to the Shrine of Saint Katharine Drexel or spend some time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament praying for Missionaries and the important work that they do.

Learn more about Saint Katharine Drexel here.