“If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open wide our hearts. It is joy which invites us. Press forward and fear nothing.” —St. Katharine Drexel
Today is the feast of the American St. Katharine Drexel, whose work to help black Americans and Native American Indians caused her to describe herself as the “mother and servant of the Indian and Negro races.” She came from a wealthy Philadelphia family and originally loved gaiety and fancy dresses, but she eventually exchanged her fine clothes for the sober habit of a Catholic nun and a life dedicated to spending her time and fortune on those whom too many of her fellow Americans unjustly despised.
Katharine Drexel saw education as a way of helping black and Indian Americans. Whites could only continue to claim that non-whites were “stupid” as long as they deliberately kept them in ignorance. Katharine Drexel’s work advanced equality for blacks and native Indians in many areas—educationally, spiritually, and civilly. She knew that God created all races equal, and she lived God’s divine love for everyone throughout her life.
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