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January 27, 2000


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, announced today that Pope John Paul II decreed that a healing attributed to the intercession of Blessed Katharine Drexel of a young girl's deafness is miraculous. The Holy Father's decree is the last major step needed for the canonization of Blessed Katharine Drexel. "This means that our holy and selfless Philadelphia native will soon be declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church," said Cardinal Bevilacqua. "There is no question that God worked through Mother Katharine Drexel and her ministry continues even now."

Cardinal Bevilacqua
made the announcement in Bensalem, PA, at the Mother House of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the order founded by Blessed Katharine Drexel in 1891. Katharine Drexel devoted her life to serving the native American and African American poor in the United States. Sister Beatrice Jeffries, Vice-President of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, said "It is a day of rejoicing for the Church of Philadelphia, a day of rejoicing for our people."

Seven year old Amanda "Amy" Wall of Bucks County, PA, is the recipient of Blessed Katharine Drexel's miraculous intercession. Amy was born with nerve deafness in both ears in 1992. Amy's family began praying to Blessed Katharine Drexel in November 1993, after learning that prayer to Blessed Katharine lead to the miraculous restoration of hearing to a Bucks County man named Robert Gutherman. In March 1994, a pre-school teacher noticed a change in Amy's responses and the little girl was given new hearing tests. She was found to have normal hearing in both ears. "We thank Blessed Katharine for her intercession for our daughter and we thank God for the blessing of this wonderful miracle," said Amanda's mother, Constance Wall.

This healing, attributed to Katharine Drexel, was submitted to Rome in 1997. A board of medical experts decided October 7, 1999 that there was no scientific, natural or medical reason for the cure. On January 5, 2000 a board of theologians decided that the healing was due to the intercession of Katharine Drexel. A board of cardinals and bishops, members from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, decided on January 18, 2000 to recommend the healing to the Holy Father as miraculous.

Today the Pope issued the decree that the healing is miraculous. "This miracle is a manifestation of God's glory. Miracles are always a sign that God is still with us," said Cardinal Bevilacqua. "As Archbishop of Philadelphia, it is a privilege to know that we will soon have the distinct honor of being the only diocese in the United States to boast two canonized saints, Saint John Neumannn, and assuredly, soon-to-be-called Saint Katharine Drexel."


Cathy Rossi

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