Basic Information

Katherine Drexel

Feast Day

March 3

Short Bio

Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans. She began by donating money but soon concluded that more was needed – the lacking ingredient was people. Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Black and Native American peoples, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to this work. In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the first mission school for Indians, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed – for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the southern part of the United States. In 1915 she also founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country. Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988. 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.

Bio Credit |


November 26, 1858


March 3, 1955

Patron of

Philanthropy, racial justice

Born in

Philadelphia, PA

Lived in

the Dakotas



Form of Passing

Natural Causes




19th Century


Religious Life

Family & Relationships

Elizabeth (older sister)

Family Members

Francis Anthony (father), Emma (Bouvier) Drexel (mother)

Details & Interests
Favorite Quote

“The patient and humble endurance of the cross—whatever nature it may be—is the highest work we have to do.” “Oh, how far I am at 84 years of age from being an image of Jesus in his sacred life on earth!”
(St. Katharine Drexel)

Canonization Status
Canonized by

Pope John Paul II



Date Canonized

October 1, 2000

Beatified on

November 20, 1988 by Pope John Paul II

Venerated on

January 26, 1987 by Pope John Paul II

Major Shrine

The Saint Katharine Drexel Mission Center and National Shrine is located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania