Katharine Drexel was a wealthy heiress from Philadelphia who used all her money to help victims of discrimination in the southern and western areas of the United States. She opened 60 school and missions and worked for justice for all people.
Concern for the Poor
When Katharine was a child her parents taught her by their example to help those living in poverty. When she grew up she was very concerned for people living in the southern and western United States who were victims of discrimination. Katharine knew that God created all of us and wanted all people to be treated with dignity and respect.
Katharine decided that the best thing she could do for the native people in the West and descendants of slaves in the South was to build schools to help the next generation. She did not just fund the cost out of her own money, but she also purchased the land, oversaw construction, bought supplies, and hired teachers.
Hope for Others
Katharine loved to receive the Eucharist each day. She founded an order called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1891 to help in her work. Katharine said, “If we live the Gospel, we will be people of justice and our lives will bring the good news to the poor.” We, too, are called to bring hope to the lives of others as she did. She was canonized in 2000.
What We Can Do
■■ Ask questions about her life. Where did she live as a child? Who did she help when she grew up? What did she do for them? How did she live the Gospel message of loving others? How many schools and missions did she open? Who is the Creator of all people? How can we bring hope to the lives of others?
■■ Make justice posters. Look up and talk about Bible verses such as “Do justice and love goodness, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Then have each child use markers to make individual posters with these words on a sheet of card stock. Illustrations can be added. The poster can be taken home and shared with the child’s family.
■■ Collect art supplies for an after-school program for children living in a low-income area. These programs provide a safe and enriching environment for elementary-age children. Ask your children to share with other children by donating new markers, crayons, scissors, construction paper, drawing paper, and glue sticks.
God of all people, thank you for the example of St. Katharine Drexel. Her efforts on behalf of those who were victims of injustice remind us that we are all created for life with you. Each time we receive the Eucharist, may we remember that you call us to share what we have been given with others. Amen.
PATRICIA MATHSON, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She is the author of many books, including 70 Prayer Starters for Children from Twenty-Third Publications.
PHOTO: CC CLOTEE PRIDGEN ALLOCHUKU
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, March 2018.