St. Katharine Drexel
If your father is an international banker and you ride in a private railroad car, you are not likely to be drawn into a life of voluntary poverty. But if your mother opens your home to the poor three days each week and your father spends half an hour each evening in prayer, it is not impossible that you will devote your life to the poor and give away millions of dollars. Katharine Drexel did that.
She was born in Philadelphia in 1858. She had an excellent education and traveled widely. As a rich girl, she had a grand debut into society. But when she nursed her stepmother through a three-year terminal illness, she saw that all the Drexel money could not buy safety from pain or death, and her life took a profound turn.
She had always been interested in the plight of the Indians, having been appalled by what she read in Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor. While on a European tour, she met Pope Leo XIII and asked him to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her friend Bishop James O'Connor. The pope replied, "Why don't you become a missionary?" His answer shocked her into considering new possibilities.
Back home, Katharine visited the Dakotas, met the Sioux leader Red Cloud and began her systematic aid to Indian missions.
She could easily have married. But after much discussion with Bishop O'Connor, she wrote in 1889, "The feast of St. Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored." Newspaper headlines screamed "Gives Up Seven Million!"
After three and a half years of training, she and her first band of nuns (Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored) opened a boarding school in Santa Fe. A string of foundations followed. By 1942 she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, plus 40 mission centers and 23 rural schools. Segregationists harassed her work, even burning a school in Pennsylvania. In all, she established 50 missions for Indians in 16 states.
Two saints met when Katharine was advised by Mother Cabrini about the "politics" of getting her Order's Rule approved in Rome. Her crowning achievement was the founding of Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic university in the United States for African Americans.
At 77, she suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Apparently her life was over. But now came almost 20 years of quiet, intense prayer from a small room overlooking the sanctuary. Small notebooks and slips of paper record her various prayers, ceaseless aspirations and meditation. She died at 96 and was canonized in 2000.
Saints have always said the same thing: Pray, be humble, accept the cross, love and forgive. But it is good to hear these things in the American idiom from one who, for instance, had her ears pierced as a teenager, who resolved to have "no cake, no preserves," who wore a watch, was interviewed by the press, traveled by train and could concern herself with the proper size of pipe for a new mission. These are obvious reminders that holiness can be lived in today's culture as well as in that of Jerusalem or Rome.
"The patient and humble endurance of the cross—whatever nature it may be—is the highest work we have to do." "Oh, how far I am at 84 years of age from being an image of Jesus in his sacred life on earth!" (St. Katharine Drexel)
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
"Come to me all you who are burdened
Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life.
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
The Word of God
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Saint Katharine Drexel, Virgin
Come, follow me (Mark 10:21)
In the fantasy film Labyrinth, a teenager named Sarah tries to rescue her baby brother from the evil Goblin King. To reach him, she must make her way through an enormous labyrinth. At one point she meets a character named the Junk Lady, who distracts her by showing her an exact copy of her room at home. She shows Sarah her toys, saying, "Everything you've ever cared about is here." Then Sarah remembers that she still has to save her brother. "It's all junk!" she cries, throwing one of her toys against her mirror. At that moment, the room dissolves, and she is able to escape.
Like Sarah, the rich young man in today's Gospel was faced with a decision about his possessions. But while Sarah saw through the "junk" that trapped her, this fellow could not.
We are all faced with the same question that this young man faced: who is Jesus? Is he the eternal Son of God, sent to save us from sin and open heaven for us? Or is he just a good teacher and charismatic leader? Or, to put it another way, is Jesus far more important than our possessions, or is he just one of many equally good things in our lives? This isn't just an issue of money, either. Many other "idols" can compete with the Lord, including our strongly held opinions, our social standing, and the grudges and resentments we choose to hold onto.
There is an old hymn that says, when we "look full in his wonderful face," the "things of earth will grow strangely dim." So today, imagine yourself as the rich young man. Go ahead and say to him whatever you want. But then, when he looks into your eyes, stay there for a minute, and look back at him. Imagine the look on his face and the intensity of his gaze. See his love and compassion for you. See how your heart is moved to love him in return. That's the moment when you're ready to give up anything and everything for him. That's the moment when you have escaped.
"Lord, help me to find my treasure in you. Come, Jesus, and fill my heart with the fire of your love. Lord, I give everything to you!"
1 Peter 1:3-9; Psalm 111:1-2, 5-6, 9-10
Upon reading today's 5 minutos, it said:
"....let us hear these words from St. Ambrose: "You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich...You pay, then, a debt, not giving freely what you do not owe". All of this can seem as idealism that is naive, and useless. The laws protect in a n inflexible manner private property of the great potentates, even though inside society there are poor living in misery. It should not estrange us that upon meeting this rich man that has done since childhood all the commandments says to him still 'one thing is missing' to adopt an authentic posture of following Him: stop hoarding and start sharing what he has with the needy. The rich man went away from Jesus full of sadness. Money has impoverished him, it has taken his liberty and generosity. The money impedes him to listen to the call of God to a life more full and more human. <How difficult it will be for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven>. It is not a luck to have money, but a real problem. For money closes the way and impedes in following the true way to life. What is your treasure?"
I wonder what we treasure most? Pope Francis keeps sending messages out to the rich to reassess their views and to help the needy. He is only saying again what Holy Scriptures say. Big time donors for St. Patrick's cathedral got offended with the Pope's words and threatened to withdraw their donations because of the "tone" of the Pope. Withdraw from the Lord and we get false gold. Today's Holy Scriptures started with words of St. Peter our first Pope "...the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." There is something more precious than our fake pearls we hold onto so dearly. We have some workers here that have been offered work, and also offered to come to bible study, what have most chosen? Certainly not the better part, money is more important right now. You see, you don't have to be some millionaire to reject Christ. There used to be a time when students would have to miss sporting events at school or big contests because they had to go to church, or a Church related event. Not anymore. We at church have to now tailor our schedule to the world. What is happening? The rich man followed the commandments. I have a cousin that I invited to a Cursillo in Christianity. One of the many times he rejected me, he said he had a hard time with today's Holy Gospel, about the one who would have to give up everything to follow the Lord, sell off all his riches. This cousin is doing well, business has been growing for the last several years. He went away full of sadness, says the Word. Instead of leaving full of Joy, he went sad. And it is our reward for choosing anything else but Jesus in this life. Because we will be proven. So we do have something to prove in this life, and it is not for myself, but the faith. We prayed with the Psalms today "
He has given food to those who fear him;