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. Read more about how St. Katharine and her influence on Catholic philanthropists in FADICA’s blog, St. Katharine Drexel’s 5 Inspirations for Catholic Philanthropists.
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.
Maureen M. O’Leary
In recognition of her valuable philanthropic leadership and profound support of the anti-human trafficking movement, including research, victim-survivor assistance, and Vatican youth conferences; as well as her philanthropic partnerships.
Thomas J. Healey
In recognition of his impactful leadership and philanthropic support for the growth and vitality of Catholic education, for effective management in the Church, the Church in Africa, and for collaborative philanthropic initiatives in these and other areas.
John J. Studzinski, CBE
In recognition of his creative leadership and impactful philanthropic efforts to support human rights and the arts, to eradicate human trafficking in partnership with Catholic Sisters, and to respond with servant leadership to the crisis of homelessness.
In recognition of Cassin’s remarkable contributions in innovative Catholic education in the U.S., particularly through the investment and national scaling of the Cristo Rey model, for leveraging partnerships with corporations as part of the corporate work study program equipping students with employment skills and the means to afford their education, and for making quality, effective Catholic education accessible to all, especially low-income populations, all of which exemplifies St. Katharine’s philanthropic spirit and legacy in the 21st Century.
Sr. Sally Duffy, SC
In recognition of her professional career dedicated to bringing not only financial resources but her own personal involvement and leadership to support a vital Church and social justice in Cincinnati and at the national level, and for providing guidance and spiritual leadership to critical initiatives serving the most vulnerable, including the FADICA co-sponsored Katrina Recovery Project.