Due to her lifelong dedication to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Katharine Drexel on October 1, 2000 to become the patron saint of philanthropy and only the second recognized American-born saint.
Born in 1858 into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor and was taught from an early age to use her wealth for the benefit of others. She took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of African Americans and Native Americans. She began by donating money but soon concluded that more was needed--the lacking ingredient was people. After originally entering the novitiate for the Sisters of Mercy, Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Black and Native American peoples, now the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to this work, used her talents, skills, and resources to educate thousands of children, and advocate for civil rights causes.
FADICA presents the St. Katharine Drexel Award to recognize members and other Catholic philanthropists for their exemplary and outstanding contributions to philanthropy on behalf of the Church and the common good. In addition to recognizing honorees’ exemplary leadership, the presentation of the award will offer an opportunity for recipients to highlight the work of an organization with which they have been integrally involved to the FADICA membership and beyond.
- Sr. Sally Duffy, SC (2017)