Thursday, March 3, 2011

St Katharine Drexel, not only had great wealth, but great wealth of soul

My latest over at Patheos is a look at the life of St. Katharine Drexel -- an American saint who was canonized at the dawn of the new millennium. Her life is examined in A Word in Season:

To say she came from money would have been an understatement. But what is more remarkable is how her parents raised her. Contrary to being possessed by their riches, the 19th century Drexel family from Philadelphia maintained that wealth was simply loaned to them to be shared for the good of others. 
Katharine Drexel, born in 1858, grew up one of three heiresses to a family fortune. Her grandfather, Francis, and his sons, founded and ran the Drexel Bank. Her successful uncle, Anthony Drexel, pioneered banking networks and the early days of Wall Street. He also opened Drexel University with the goal of helping people improve their station in life by offering low-cost tuition.
Katharine’s affluent heritage afforded her a private education and extensive travels throughout the United States and Europe. It was during those very travels in the U. S. that she witnessed the nation’s poorest and marginalized citizens of her day: disadvantaged Native Americans and African Americans.
Upon the death of her parents, Katharine inherited a vast fortune. Meanwhile, her strong Catholic faith was leading her toward a religious vocation. She longed to dedicate her life to prayer fulltime as a contemplative nun, and donate her share of the inheritance to the family’s philanthropic charities...
During a private audience with Pope Leo XIII, Katharine knelt at his feet pleading that a missionary priest be sent to tend to her beloved Native Americans of the United States. The Pope’s response worked wonders in Katharine’s soul: “Why not, my child, yourself become a missionary?”  This challenge brought focus to Katharine’s resolve: she was already contemplating a religious life and giving away her fortune to support the missions. Soon her life would take a new turn that would involve both... 

Read it all.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Too shy to leave a comment here? Email me at

The new Roman Missal (click & learn about the coming changes):

Watch Catholic TV here! Find Women's programs: "WINGs" and "Woman at the Heart of the Church"

A Lovely Reminder for Every Day

Coffee drinkers! Support AW by drinking Mystic Monk Coffee!

Ship a Cake, and Share a Blessing