Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Malvern Minute

 

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

March 3, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry 

 

Memorial Feast:  Saint Katharine Drexel (1858-1955) – Patron Saint of Philanthropy and Social Justice

Isaiah 55:10-11

Psalm 34

Matthew 6:7-15

Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 26, 1858.  She was that daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and his wife, Hannah Jane.  Katharine’s mother died when she was two years old.  Her father married Emma Bouvier, who was a devoted mother, not only to her own daughter but also to her two step-daughters.  Both parents instilled into the children by word and example that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.

Katharine was educated privately at home; she traveled widely in the United States and in Europe.  Early in life she became aware of the plight of Native American Indians and African Americans.  When she inherited a vast fortune from her father and step-mother, she resolved to devote her wealth to helping these disadvantaged people.  In 1885 she established a school for Native Americans at Santa Fe, New Mexico.

During an audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to recommend a religious congregation to staff the institutions which she was financing.  The Pope suggested that she herself become a missionary.  In 1889 she began her training in religious life with the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In 1891, with a few companions, Mother Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. The title of the community summed up the two great driving forces in her life – devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love for some of the most deprived people in the country.

Requests for help reached Mother Katharine from various parts of the United States.  During her lifetime, approximately 60 schools were opened by her congregation.  The most famous was in 1915, Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is the first school for higher learning for black people in the United States.

In 1935 Mother Katharine suffered a heart attack, and in 1937 she relinquished the office of superior general.  Though gradually becoming more infirm, she was able to devote her last years to Eucharistic adoration, and so fulfill her life’s desire.  Mother Katharine died on March 3, 1955 at the age of 96 at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania.  Her cause for beatification was introduced in 1966; she was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on January 26, 1987, by whom she was also beatified on November 20, 1988.

Sisters and brothers the above text was taken from Eternal Word Television (EWTN) honoring St. Katharine Drexel.  The text is wonderfully informative yet it lacks one important fact about this great saint.  During her visit with Pope Leo XIII she received his advice to become a missionary by asking her two questions.  He said to her, “What about you?” and “What are you going to do?”  Those words changed Katharine’s life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian woman and man, by virtue of their baptism, has received a “mission.”  Each one of us has to respond, as best we can, to the Lord’s call to build up His Body, the Church. 

Question of the Day:  “What about you?  “What are you going to do?”

Prayer: Ever loving God, you called Saint Katharine Drexel to teach the message of the Gospel and to bring the life of the Eucharist to the Black and Native American Peoples.   By her prayers and example, enable us to work for justice among the poor and oppressed.  Draw us all into the Eucharistic community of your Church, that we may be one with you.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Prosit


ENCOUNTERING DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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