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The Golden Door

Item Number: 97207

Catalog Code: 8654

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Golden Door

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The Golden Door
The Life of St. Katharine Drexel
Wherever Mother Katharine Drexel went she lighted lamps of faith and hope to bring the African American and Native American Indian from the shadows to the light. Surely of her it may be said, as of the woman in Proverbs, “Her lamp shall not be put out in the night.”
The amount she gave away in the course of her long life was phenomenal. In 1936 Cardinal Dougherty estimated that Mother Katharine had by that time given away $12,000,000 of her inheritance not only to the work of her own congregation but as aid to many struggling missions, including five in foreign countries. As for the works of her own congregation, at the time of her death she had established three houses of social service and one mission center, many rural schools, eight of them supervised by her Sisters, sixty-one other schools—twelve high schools, forty-eight elementary schools—and Xavier University, the first Catholic university in the country for its African American citizens.
To accomplish her part in this work for the neglected minorities of the United States, she gave up everything in the world—and in her case it was surely a great deal—but from her viewpoint it was not a sacrifice but a privilege. And perhaps this was the secret of all her life: she regarded herself as simply expending for God’s people what God had given her to give to them.
Without her faith, Katharine Drexel’s gifts might still have done much good, but her giving was raised above the purely humanitarian level by the fact that she saw beyond the body which must be clothed and fed, to the mind which must be trained—and beyond to the soul which must be saved. And she accepted the responsibility.
304 pp. Softcover. 

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St. Katharine Drexel

St. Katharine Drexel Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 03/03

Also known as
    Catherine Marie Drexel

    3 March

    Daughter of the extremely wealthy railroad entrepreneurs and philanthropists Francis Anthony and Emma (Bouvier) Drexel. Taught from an early age to use her wealth for the benefit of others; her parents even opened their home to the poor several days each week. Katharine's older sister Elizabeth founded a Pennsylvania trade school for orphans; her younger sister founded a liberal arts and vocational school for poor blacks in Virginia. Katharine nursed her mother through a fatal three-year illness before setting out on her own; Emma died in 1883.

    Interested in the condition of Native Americans, during an audience in 1887, she asked Pope Leo XIII to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her friend, Bishop James O'Connor. The pope replied, "Why don't you become a missionary?"

    She visited the Dakotas, met the Sioux chief, and began her systematic aid to Indian missions, eventually spending millions of the family fortune. Entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy. Founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored, now known simply as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA in 1891. Advised by Mother Frances Cabrini on getting the Order's rule approved in Rome. She received the approval in 1913.

    By 1942 she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, 40 mission centers, 23 rural schools, 50 Indian missions, and Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, the first United States university for blacks. Segregationists harassed her work.

    Following a heart attack, she spent her last twenty years in prayer and meditation. The Shrine of Saint Katharine is at the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, 1663 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, Pennsylvania, USA 19020-8502, tel/215.639.7878, email/; it is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm weekdays, and in 2008 was declared a National Shrine.

    26 November 1858 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

    3 March 1955 of natural causes at the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, 1663 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, Pennsylvania, USA 19020-8502

    26 January 1987 by Pope John Paul II

    20 November 1988 by Pope John Paul II

    1 October 2000 at Rome by Pope John Paul II

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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