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The Golden Door
The Life of St. Katharine Drexel
Wherever Mother Katharine Drexel went she lighted lamps of faith and hope to bring the African American and Native American Indian from the shadows to the light. Surely of her it may be said, as of the woman in Proverbs, “Her lamp shall not be put out in the night.”
The amount she gave away in the course of her long life was phenomenal. In 1936 Cardinal Dougherty estimated that Mother Katharine had by that time given away $12,000,000 of her inheritance not only to the work of her own congregation but as aid to many struggling missions, including five in foreign countries. As for the works of her own congregation, at the time of her death she had established three houses of social service and one mission center, many rural schools, eight of them supervised by her Sisters, sixty-one other schools—twelve high schools, forty-eight elementary schools—and Xavier University, the first Catholic university in the country for its African American citizens.
To accomplish her part in this work for the neglected minorities of the United States, she gave up everything in the world—and in her case it was surely a great deal—but from her viewpoint it was not a sacrifice but a privilege. And perhaps this was the secret of all her life: she regarded herself as simply expending for God’s people what God had given her to give to them.
Without her faith, Katharine Drexel’s gifts might still have done much good, but her giving was raised above the purely humanitarian level by the fact that she saw beyond the body which must be clothed and fed, to the mind which must be trained—and beyond to the soul which must be saved. And she accepted the responsibility.
304 pp. Softcover.