Did you know that a canonized saint who described herself as “The mother and servant of the Indian and Negro races” helped finance the first Black Catholic College in the United States?
In 1858, St. Katherine Drexel was born into great wealth in Philadelphia, Pa. As she grew up, St. Katherine’s parents taught her that their money was meant to be shared with others. St. Katherine took this to the heart throughout her long life, especially in service to suffering Native and African Americans. She gave more than 21 million dollars of her own money to help found dozen of churches, schools, and hospitals across the United States. Besides founding her own religious congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, St. Katherine also established Xavier University in New Orleans, La. It’s the only Catholic African American College in the country. St. Katherine Drexel died in 1955 and became a saint in the year 2000.