Saint Katharine Drexel, S.B.S., was an American heiress, philanthropist, religious sister, educator, and foundress. She was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 2000; her feast day is observed on March 3.
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While in the Dakotas, St. Katharine Drexel met the Sioux leader Red Cloud and began her systematic aid to Indian missions. After three and a half years of training she and her first group of nuns (Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored) opened a boarding school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 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. She devoted her life to the poor and gave away millions of dollars. She did not hesitate to speak out against injustice, taking a public stance when racial discrimination was in evidence.
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