Katharine Marie Drexel (1858 - 1955)

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Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Death: Died in Bensalem, PA, United States
Managed by: David Andersson
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About Katharine Marie Drexel

Katharine Marie Drexel (November 26, 1858 – March 3, 1955) is a Roman Catholic Saint.


She was the daughter of Philadelphia banker Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Jane Langstroth, his first wife. On 12 February 1891, Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and personal fortune of US$ 20 million to this work. In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the Sisters' first mission school for Native Americans, St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed—for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the African Americans in the southern part of the United States. In 1915 she also founded Xavier University and Xavier Prep in New Orleans.

St. Katharine also funded many chapels, convents, and monasteries. Blessed Sacrament Monastery in Tucson, Arizona is an outstanding example of the tasteful architecture that she advocated for religious institutions. At her death in 1955 there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country.

In 1935, Katharine suffered a severe heart attack, and for the next twenty years she lived in retirement. She died on March 3, 1955, at the age of 96 at St. Elizabeth Convent in Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania.


Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000 to become only the second American-born saint. Her feast day is March 3, the anniversary of her death. She is buried in Cornwells Heights, Bensalem Township.


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Katharine Drexel's Timeline

November 26, 1858
Philadelphia, PA, United States
March 3, 1955
Age 96
Bensalem, PA, United States