Saint Katharine left a four-fold legacy to her Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who continue her mission today: 1) her love for the Eucharist, her spirit of prayer, and her Eucharistic perspective on the unity of all peoples; 2) her undaunted spirit of courageous initiative in addressing social iniquities among minorities; 3) her belief in the importance of quality education for all, and her efforts to achieve it; and 4) her total giving of self, of her inheritance and all material goods in selfless service of the victims of injustice.
Saint Katharine inspired all who followed her to combat social injustices, both within the Church and throughout society. She encouraged charity and love to all, modeling the love and acceptance of Christ. From her canonization homily, delivered by Pope John Paul II in 2000:
4. "See what you have stored up for yourselves against the last days!" (Jas 5: 3).
In the second reading of today's liturgy, the Apostle James rebukes the rich who trust in their wealth and treat the poor unjustly. Mother Katharine Drexel was born into wealth in Philadelphia in the United States. But from her parents she learned that her family's possessions were not for them alone but were meant to be shared with the less fortunate. As a young woman, she was deeply distressed by the poverty and hopeless conditions endured by many Native Americans and Afro-Americans. She began to devote her fortune to missionary and educational work among the poorest members of society. Later, she understood that more was needed. With great courage and confidence in God's grace, she chose to give not just her fortune but her whole life totally to the Lord.
To her religious community, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, she taught a spirituality based on prayerful union with the Eucharistic Lord and zealous service of the poor and the victims of racial discrimination. Her apostolate helped to bring about a growing awareness of the need to combat all forms of racism through education and social services. Katharine Drexel is an excellent example of that practical charity and generous solidarity with the less fortunate which has long been the distinguishing mark of American Catholics.
May her example help young people in particular to appreciate that no greater treasure can be found in this world than in following Christ with an undivided heart and in using generously the gifts we have received for the service of others and for the building of a more just and fraternal world.
"Nothing happens by chance."
“Ah, Lord, it is but too true, YOU ARE NOT LOVED! Shall we not strive by every means in our power to make you known and loved? Shall we not try to pay many an extra visit to our dearest Friend, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever living to make intercession for us? And may this prayer, dearest Lord, be on our lips when we bow down in lowly adoration in your sacramental presence: ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus, you love! O Sacred Heart of Jesus, you are not loved! O would that you were loved!’ Our Lady, open your heart to me, your child. Teach me to know your Son intimately, to love him ardently, and to follow him closely.”
“And here is the passive way – to be filled unto the fullness of God. The passive way – I abandon myself to it, not in a multiplicity of trials, extraordinary penances accomplished, practices of great works – but in peaceful abandonment to the tenderness of Jesus, which I must try to imitate, and by being in constant union with his meek and humble heart. What likeness is there between me and my Mother? Do I try to be like her, in her love for Jesus? In her devotion for the cause for which he died – the salvation of souls – in her absolute submission to the will of God, in her patient suffering? Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, too, let me stand at the foot of the cross with you, to learn its lesson and to learn to be like the Mother of Sorrows. Amen."
“O Mary, make me endeavor, by all the means in my power, to extend the kingdom of your Divine Son and offer incessantly my prayers for the conversion of those who are yet in darkness or estranged from His fold.”
“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!”
“Resolve: Generously and with no half-hearted, timorous dread of the opinions of Church and men to manifest my mission….You have no time to occupy your thoughts with that complacency or consideration of what others will think. Your business is simply, ‘What will my God in heaven think?’”
“It is a lesson we all need - to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and to follow Him in that path.”
“The patient and humble endurance of the cross – whatever nature it may be – is the highest work we have to do.”
The life of Saint Katharine Drexel inspires us today, to approach all we encounter with love, acceptance, and charity, and to seek to understand and embrace those who are ostracized, maligned, and ill-treated. We pray today for an end to social injustices, and that the Church may courageously lead society forward in correcting social wrongs.
Ever Loving God, You called Saint Katharine Drexel to teach the message of the Gospel and to bring the life of the Eucharist to Black and Native American peoples. By her prayers and example, enable us to work for justice among the poor and oppressed. Draw us all into the Eucharistic community of your Church that we may be one in you. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Year 2: Day 62 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage to confront social injustice with the love of Christ.
Requested Intentions: Freedom from medical difficulties, employment, successful relationship (D); End to suffering for sick brother; reconciliation of estranged family (E); End to husband’s addiction; Improved relationship; strength (M); Successful God-centered marriage; Sacramental life (M); Healing, successful relationship (S); For successful marriage (A); For a husband’s freedom from addiction (C); Freedom from pain and illness for a friend (M); Financial freedom (J); Successful passing of occupational examination (S); Healing and conversion, sale of house (L); Occupational success for employee and colleagues (J); Employment for a son (C); Successful attainment of an important appointed position (J); Recovery from cancer for a friend (Z); For a family’s freedom from sin (M); For a daughter with Diabetes (A); Healing of a father following stroke (S).