Our Patron Saint
St. Katharine Drexel
Elise LeNoir Morris’s friend and mentor Saint Katharine Drexel Foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament Founder of Xavier High School(Prep) and Xavier University; alma mater of Elise Morris. It was while attending those schools that (Founder and President Emeritus Elise LeNoir Morris, of The Drexel Society, Inc.) came to know, admire and respect Saint Katharine Drexel and for those reasons, established the Drexel Society Organization in her honor.
Katharine Drexel responding to needs she perceived among African Americans and Native Americans, she devoted her life and immense fortune to providing education for those who wished to take advantage of it. As a child, Drexel was exposed to the philanthropic impulses of her parents and the concerns of the many influential Catholic clergy close to her socially prominent family. After investing significant personal time and resources in charitable acts, she realized her call to a vocational life in 1889. She founded her own Catholic Order dedicated to working with and for the people she saw as America’s forgotten, ignored, and debased peoples: Native Americans and African Americans. During her lifetime and under her leadership, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Negroes and Indians built, funded, supplied, and staffed over sixty schools and missions throughout America. For instance, the Sisters founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first and only black coeducational Catholic institution of higher education at the time. While living a life of poverty, Mother Katharine gave millions of dollars to support these efforts.
However, her influence exceeded the impact of her financial offerings. Katharine Drexel respected the common humanity and citizenship of Native Americans and African Americans, she provided free quality education to nurture new community leaders, and she was untiring in the face of obstacles and calm when confronted by bigotry. She died in 1955, and her contemporaries initiated the process of canonization in 1964. She was beatified in 1988 and canonized by Pope John Paul II on 27 January 2000, following Elizabeth Seton as the second native born American to be canonized. Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day March 3).