About Saint Katharine Drexel

Saint Katharine Drexel

The Heart of a Woman, the Strength of a Saint

The Drexel household was a happy one, in a large but simple home at 1503 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.  Francis Anthony Drexel was hard-working and a successful banking partner with his brother, Anthony. Emma M. Bouvier Drexel, his wife, proved to be very loving, faith-filled and a caring parent to their three daughters, Elizabeth, Catherine (Katie) and Louise. It was here that these young women realized that their lavish wealth was to be shared, not only with neighbors in need, but also with Missionaries throughout the world who were serving the poor and destitute.

When they moved to the Torresdale section of Philadelphia they befriended Fr. James O’Connor, pastor of the Church of Saint Dominic. Soon he was ordained a bishop and sent to Nebraska. His pastoral work to the Native Americans made it necessary for him to seek financial help from the Drexel family. Kate, now known as Katharine, who was following the plight of the native groups, saw the injustices they were suffering at the hands of the federal government. She noted, as well, the severe racial injustices and torture of black people in the South, for whom she grieved. Clearly, priests were needed for both races to offer pastoral care and spiritual conversion to Christianity. On one of her final trips abroad, she begged and was granted an audience with Pope Leo XIII to make a request for missionary priests. The Holy Father asked her to personally become a missionary, which sealed her own desire to enter Religious Life.

The Tomb of Saint Katharine Drexel at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia

The Tomb of Saint Katharine Drexel is open for visits and prayer during Cathedral Basilica hours. Information about these hours can be found on the Cathedral Basilica website. Pilgrimages to the Tomb of Saint Katharine Drexel are encouraged. Outside of the parish Mass schedule, it is possible to offer Mass at the Drexel Family altar adjacent to the Tomb of Saint Katharine Drexel.

Intentions & Petitions

You are welcome to present intentions and petitions to be placed at the Tomb of Saint Katharine, asking her heavenly assistance. You may click here to submit your intentions online, or place these intentions and petitions in the offering basket at Mass or send them to the Cathedral Parish Office, 1723 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.