Sun., March 3: Katharine Drexel

Oh, the irony. We traveled to Philadelphia to take a look at Drexel University, and as we entered the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Center City, we discovered it was the feast day of St. Katharine Drexel. And St. Katharine’s remains just happen to be inside the basilica. (I learned after our visit that they were moved from a site in Bensalem, Pennsylvania to a tomb within the basilica last year.)

This presented a great chance to learn about Katharine Drexel because, truthfully, I did not know much about her. Katharine was born into a well-to-do Philadelphia family in the 1850s, but eventually took a vow of poverty and became a nun. In 1891, she founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, and she devoted the rest of her life to helping Native Americans and African Americans. Among her contributions to education, Katharine established Xavier University of Louisiana, the first African American Catholic university.

What can we learn from Katharine Drexel? When you believe in helping others, you can make great things happen. Not all of us are able to devote our entire life to a cause. And how many of us would actually do so if we had the time? I guess if we all just have a portion of the goodness of people like Katharine, we could make a positive impact in this world.

By the way, Drexel is a really cool school.

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