"The patient and humble endurance of the cross whatever nature it may be is the highest work we have to do..... Oh, how far I am at 84 years of age from being an image of Jesus in his sacred life on earth!" - St. Katharine Drexel
Born to an extremely wealthy family, Katherine Marie Drexel (1858-1955) (often called Kate by her family members) was taught by her good parents to use her wealth for the benefit for others. The family even opened their house several days a week for the poor. Her sisters too did use their wealth for the benefit of others when they were older. Katherine's older sister opened a school in Pennsylvania for orphans, and her younger sister founded liberal arts school for the poor in Virginia. Katherine also had a favorite saint, St. Francis of Assisi.
Around the age of 25, Katherine was given a message by Our Lady, "Freely you have received; freely give."
Katherine became interested in the condition of the Native Americans so she asked Pope Leo XIII in 1887 to send more missionaries to Wyoming for a friend who was a Bishop. The Pope replied, "Why don't you become a missionary?"
So later, Katherine visited Dakota, helped in whatever the missionaries needed, and in the process she spent millions of the family fortune. She entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy, and later founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored, but now it is simply called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Katherine was advised by St. Frances Cabrini on getting the Order's rule approval in Rome.
By 1942 she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, 40 mission centers, 23 rural schools, 50 Indian missions, and Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, the first United States university for blacks.
Katherine was venerated on the 26th of January 1987, by Pope John Paul II,
beatified on the 20th of November 1988, by Pope John Paul II,
and canonized on the 1st of October 2000, at Rome by Pope John Paul II.