Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Today is the feast day of Saint Saint Katharine Drexel

Sister Beatrice Jeffries, of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, reads scripture as part of the special canonization Mass for Saint Katharine Drexel, the order's founder!






The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, leans on his staff during the special Mass of canonization for St. Katharine Drexel.



The tapestry of St. Katharine Drexel was hung on St. Peter's Basilica along with those of the other saints declared today.




Saint Katharine Drexel was born on Nov. 26, 1858 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia CountyPennsylvania and she died on Mar. 3, 1955 in BensalemBucks CountyPennsylvania. She was the daughter of Francis Drexel, a banking magnate and business partner of J.P. Morgan. She was raised in a world of mansions, world travel and private tutors. She shocked the City of Philadelphia at the age of 30 and entered a convent. Sister Katharine used her multi-million inheritance to establish a missionary order. In her lifetime, the order, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, established 12 American Indian schools and more than 100 rural and inner-city schools for black students. Sister Drexel was only the second American-born saint; the other is Sisters of Charity founder Elizabeth Ann Seton. She died at the age of 96 at the Mother House in Bensalem, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, of simple complications from old age. Pope John Paul cannonized her in Saint Peters Square, Rome, on October l, 2000. Her feast day is celebrated each March 3rd.















Burial:Mother House Sisters of Blessed Sacrament





Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USAPlot: St Katherine Drexel Shrine



Katharine Mary Drexel (November 26, 1858 – March 3, 1955) is a Roman Catholic Saintand daughter of the wealthy Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Langstroth of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Katharine dedicated her life and considerable inheritance to the needs of oppressed Native Americans and Blacks in the West and Southwest United States, and was a vocal advocate of racial tolerance. To address racial injustice and destitution and spread the Gospel to these groups, Katharine established a religious order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. Because Katharine felt a universal need for education, especially among Blacks and Native Americans, she financed more than 60 missions and schools around the United States. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000, becoming the second canonized American-born saint (after Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton who was canonized in 1975).



Sainthood
Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988. The Vatican identified in Katharine a fourfold legacy: A love of the Eucharist and her perspective on the unity of all peoples; courage and initiative in addressing social inequality among minorities; her efforts to achieve quality education for all; and her selfless service, including the donation of her inheritance, for the victims of injustice. She is known as the Patron Saint of racial justice and of philanthropists.
Her feast day is March 3, the anniversary of her death. She is buried in Cornwells Heights, Bensalem Township.










Saint Katharine Drexel Mission Center and Shrine
The Saint Katharine Drexel Mission Center and Shrine is located at 1663 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The Mission Center offers retreat programs, historic site tours, days of prayer, presentations about Saint Katharine Drexel, and lectures and seminars related to her legacy. Furniture and exhibits tell the story of St. Katharine Drexel, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, and the accomplishments of black and Native American people.
The saint's tomb lies under the main altar in St. Elizabeth Chapel, where visitors may pray daily.











Saint Katharine Drexel
Abbess
Born
November 26, 1858(1858-11-26), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died
Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania





Venerated in Roman Catholic Church





Beatified: November 20, 1980 by Pope John Paul II
Canonized: October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II










Major shrine
Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania





Feast Day is March 3 Patronage:
philanthropists, racial justice




For Bensalem and the world, it's St. Katharine Drexel
The Bensalem nun, who turned her back on a privileged life to embrace two forgotten peoples, is now St. Katharine Drexel.
By ELIZABETH FISHER
The tapestry of St. Katharine Drexel was hung on St. Peter's Basilica along with those of the other saints declared today.
St. Katharine Drexel's Miracles
In February, 1974, Robert Gutherman, then 14, had an ear infection that destroyed the three bones in his right ear causing deafness in that ear.
His family began praying to Mother Katharine Drexel for relief of his pain. By September, several months after surgery, a medical checkup showed that the bones regenerated and Gutherman's hearing was restored.
In August, 1993, Amy Wall was diagnosed with incurable nerve deafness and was enrolled in the Katzenbach School for the Deaf in Trenton. In November, her family prayed to Drexel.
By March, a teacher noticed that Amy was responding to noise. Medical tests showed that Amy had perfect hearing.
ROME - The Bensalem nun, who turned her back on a privileged life to embrace two forgotten peoples, is now St. Katharine Drexel.
Huddled under umbrellas for several hours, 70,000 pilgrims from all over the world gathered today to witness the elevation of four individuals, including Drexel, to sainthood.
About 3,000 people from the Delaware Valley, including many from Bucks County, were in the crowd to mark the occasion. Rain and wind whipped through the square, soaking the congregation but not dampening the solemnity of the ceremony. The crowds started snaking their way to St. Peter's before dawn, waiting patiently for the 10 a.m. ceremony to begin.
The sound of cheers rose above the clatter of rain at the moment of canonization when Pope John Paul II uttered the traditional: "Lo ordiniamo."
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Phildelphia, was one of the concelebrants of the Mass. Bevilacqua has promoted Drexel's cause for canonization since 1988, when she was beatified.
Many members of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament were present. Sister Beatrice Jeffries, vice president of the order, read scripture, one of the few times that English was used in the liturgy. Amy Wall and Robert Gutherman sat near the papal altar during the Mass. Eight-year-old Amy occasionally got restless during the long ceremony. The little girl, her mother Connie and Gutherman all received Holy Communion from the Holy Father.
Amy and Gutherman, both of Bucks County, were cured of deafness after their families prayed to Drexel. The Church considered them miracles attributable to Drexel. Before an individual is canonized, two miracles are required. Sister Beatrice Jeffries, of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, reads scripture as part of the special canonization Mass for Saint Katharine Drexel, the order's founder.





"I originally asked if I could just sit next to Amy so she wouldn't be there by herself," Connie Wall said. "Then I was invited to receive Communion from the pope, too."
The pope praised Drexel for her work among blacks and Native Americans through social service and education. He also held up the three other new saints as examples of Christian piety.
"Two thousand years from the beginning of the Redemption, today we make the words of the Gospel our own, while we have before us such models of sanctity: Agustin Zhao Rong and 119 companions and martyrs in China, Mary Joseph of the Hart of Jesus Sancho di Guerra, Katharine Mary Drexel and Josephine Bakhita," the pope said.





"To all of you, dear brothers and sisters, who have gathered here in such great numbers to express your devotion toward those shining witnesses of the Gospel, I extend my heartfelt greeting," he said. The pope hailed Drexel as a compassionate woman who expanded on her parents' teachings on sharing wealth.










"She began to devote her fortune to missionary and educational work among the poorest members of society. Later, she understood that more was needed. With great courage and confidence in God's grace, she chose to give not just her fortune but her whole life totally to the Lord. Miracle recipient Amy Wall clings to her mother, Connie, before entering the St. Peter's Square for the canonization ceremonies.





"To her religious community, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, she taught a spirituality based on prayer for union with the Eucharistic Lord and zealous service of the poor and victims of racial discrimination," he said. The Holy Father prayed that young people understand that "no greater treasure can be found" than following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and by generously using their gifts to benefit the poor. After the Mass, Cardinal Bevilacqua called on Catholics to follow in Drexel's footsteps by using their resources to help others in need. "Whatever we have, we should be using to assist others who are needier than we are," Bevilacqua said. "You don't have to be poor to be needy. We can offer prayers or assist in times of sickness." The cardinal said the key to emulating Drexel is to love everyone, no matter what their color or race.










The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, leans on his staff during the special Mass of canonization for St. Katharine Drexel. "Katharine Drexel used all her resources to help others." he said.
Two Bucks County women, a mother and daughter from Bensalem, used the Drexel canonization as an opportunity to see Rome. Mary Gradel and her daughter, Laura, 24, said the bad weather was insignificant compared to the magnitude of the event.
"I've always wanted to come to Rome to see the pope," said Mary Gradel. "This was such a moving experience" Her daughter agreed. "Seeing the canonization was worth all the rain, all the nasty weather," Laura Gradel said. "It made you want to smile and cry at the same time."
Philadelphia resident Marion Matticola came full circle with this visit to Rome. She attended Drexel's funeral in 1955.










"This is all part of a spiritual journey, a testament to our faith," she said. "It's so touching to see so many Catholics gathered here in one place. All the people here are here because of faith."
Virginia and James Carlin of Fairless Hills and Sister Maryann Poole (Virginia's sister) of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, watched the canonization ceremonies from front row seats.
Over her lifetime, Drexel built 60 schools and missions to serve and educate blacks and Native Americans. Drexel was born Nov. 26, 1858, the daughter of wealthy Philadelphia banker Francis Drexel and his wife, Hannah Longstreth. Hannah died shortly after her daughter's birth and two years later, Francis Drexel married Emma Bouvier.
It was Emma who taught the young Katharine that wealth was to be shared. At an early age, Katharine and her sisters, Elizabeth and Louise, helped their mother distribute food and clothing to the poor in Philadelphia. As they grew into young women, the three Drexel daughters started religion classes for the children who lived near the Drexel home in Torresdale, where Frankford Hospital now stands. The family's charity work amounted to about $20,000 a year, a stunning amount for the last of the 19th century. Because of her early charitable works and her extensive travels out west with her family, Drexel understood the alienation endured by blacks and Native Americans. She wanted to do something that would help the two peoples take their rightful place in society. The seeds of her future vocation were sowed.










Robert Gutherman's daughter, Mary Katharine, isn't as excited before the canonization ceremony as her father, who was the recipient of St. Drexel's first miracle.
It was in 1889, after her parents died, Drexel entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh, where she studied, prayed and learned enough convent structure to enable her to start her own order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1891.
Drexel spent the last days of her life as an invalid. Soon after her death in 1955, those who knew her immediately began petitioning the Philadelphia Archdiocese to begin the work that could lead to her sainthood. Today's events have special meaning for Maureen Clark Ramsey, who was a member of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament from 1961 to 1970.
Now married and the mother of three children, the Southampton, N.J. resident said her children gave her the money to make the trip."










"I left the order because I felt that that part of my life was finished," she said. "But [the canonization] is still important to me. It is for all of us a continuation of our spiritual journey back to God." Shortly after the canonization, as the last of the pilgrims headed back to their hotels to prepare for the celebration dinner at the Sheraton Roma, the clouds abruptly rolled away. The sky over St. Peter's turned a perfect blue and a warm sun hovered over the abandoned square.
Sunday, October 1, 2000.
















St. Katharine Drexel's Miracles
In February, 1974, Robert Gutherman, then 14, had an ear infection that destroyed the three bones in his right ear causing deafness in that ear.
His family began praying to Mother Katharine Drexel for relief of his pain. By September, several months after surgery, a medical checkup showed that the bones regenerated and Gutherman's hearing was restored.
In August, 1993, Amy Wall was diagnosed with incurable nerve deafness and was enrolled in the Katzenbach School for the Deaf in Trenton. In November, her family prayed to Drexel.
By March, a teacher noticed that Amy was responding to noise. Medical tests showed that Amy had perfect hearing.

Saint Katharine Drexel: I was truly impressed when Pope John Paul II announced that he created you as one of the newest saints in the Catholic Church, may you rest in peace! Happy feast day too!


















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