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March 3, 2000


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, celebrated mass honoring Blessed Katharine Drexel on her Feast day. More than 1500 people attended the Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints. Peter and Paul in center city Philadelphia. "There are certain men and women throughout the two-thousand year history of the Church who are shining examples of Christlike service. The woman we honor today is a brilliant example of unselfish and unconditional love," said Cardinal Bevilacqua.

Cardinal Bevilacqua said, "Mother Katharine Drexel is great not because of her name or her wealth, but because, like her Lord and Master, she served the needs of all. In fact, we might say that she is great because she remembered the forgotten, ministered to the lowly, and loved the unloved. Katharine Drexel's deep love of God fueled her missionary efforts and the establishment of the community of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. God was the center of her life; all she did radiated from Him who kept her anchored in faithfulness and true to her mission."

Cardinal Bevilacqua said today that it is likely the Consistory of Cardinals will meet on March 10, 2000 and announce a canonization date. That date will likely be in October 2000.

In attendance at the Mass were members of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (the order founded by Katharine Drexel), children who attend schools founded by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, members of the Drexel family, as well as the recipients of Katharine Drexel's miraculous intercessions, Amanda "Amy" Wall and Robert Gutherman and their families.

On January 27, 2000, Cardinal Bevilacqua announced 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 necessary for canonization of Blessed Katharine Drexel.

Amy Wall of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was born with nerve deafness in both ears in 1992. Amy's family began praying to Blessed Katharine Drexel in November 1993 and in March 1994, a pre-school teacher noticed a change in Amy's responses. This healing, attributed to Katharine Drexel, was submitted to Rome in 1997. On January 5, 2000 a board of theologians decided that the healing was due to the intercession of Katharine Drexel.

In 1988, Pope John Paul II declared the healing of Robert Gutherman's deafness to be a miracle attributed to the intercession of Katharine Drexel. Robert Gutherman is also from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This declaration earned Katharine Drexel the title of "Blessed."

Katharine Drexel was born in 1858 in Philadelphia and died in 1955. She devoted her life to helping the poor among the Native American and African American people.


Donna Crilley
Communications Assistant

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