"In You Did It to Me, Fr. Michael Gaitley [MIC] has a genius for bringing together the spiritual and corporal works of mercy under the umbrella of 'The Five Scriptural Works... Read more
She Gave Her Money (And Heart) Away
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more — Lk 12:48.
God gave St. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955) many gifts: enormous wealth; a loving family; a life among the rich and the powerful. And St. Katharine, whose feast we celebrate on March 3, gave it all back to God.
She inherited a massive fortune, and dedicated her life to giving it away to the most oppressed in American society, devoting herself especially to charitable works for the Native Americans and the African-Americans throughout the United States. "During her lifetime," said L'Osservatore Romano at the time of her beatification in 1988, "approximately 60 schools were opened by her congregation. The most famous foundation was made in 1915; it was Xavier University, New Orleans, the first such institution for Black people in the United States."
Her generosity with her money was matched only by her generosity with herself: After an audience with Pope Leo XIII, who suggested she herself set about tending to the poor whom she discussed with him with such concern, she founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People in 1891. For the rest of her life, she lived as a consecrated religious.
What an immense amount of good from one life! What a tremendous legacy to bring before God on the last day, when He sits on His throne and asks when we ever helped the least of these, His brethren (see Mt 25)!
Let's ask St. Katharine Drexel to pray for us that we also might identify the most neglected, underserved, or overlooked people in our own homes, communities, families, and workplaces. Let's ask her intercession that we may be the face of Christ turned with love to them, and bring the Holy Spirit of love into all hearts and homes during this Lenten season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in penance for our sins and the healing of the Church and the world.