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March 9, 2000



Pope John Paul II announced today that he has approved the canonization of Blessed Katharine Drexel of Philadelphia, and that he will canonize Mother Katharine as a Saint on Sunday, October 1, 2000 at Saint Peter's Square in Rome. The Pope's announcement came at a meeting of Cardinals held in Rome this morning. The meeting, known as an ordinary public consistory, was called by the Holy Father so that he could receive the advice of the Cardinals regarding the possible canonization of Katharine Drexel, and other Blesseds from Mexico, China, Spain, and Poland.

Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, expressed his joy over the announcement, which marks the final step before the canonization ceremony in what is necessarily a long process. "This is truly a joyous occasion for all of us," said Cardinal Bevilacqua. "Catholics everywhere, and especially in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will rightfully rejoice at this great news."

"Clearly, God worked through Mother Katharine Drexel who did His Will and was of service to the poorest of the poor," said Cardinal Bevilacqua. "She is a shining example to all believers and to all people of good will. Mother Katharine gave up her family fortune to devote her life to the poor and oppressed, particularly Native American and African American peoples. She believed that we are all one people united in the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament which is Jesus' ‘total gift of self.'"

"It is our prayer that Katharine Drexel's life and message will inspire many to work and pray for greater unity, justice and peace for all peoples," said Sister Monica Laughlin, President of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the religious order founded by Blessed Katharine Drexel.
The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament Mother House is located in Bensalem, PA. "We rejoice at the news of the canonization of our foundress and we pray that her spirit and mission will heal closed hearts," said Sister Monica. "This is indeed a Jubilee year for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament!"

Katharine Drexel was born in 1858 in Philadelphia and died in 1955. Pope John Paul II beatified her on November 20, 1988, bestowing upon her the title of "Blessed," after decreeing that the restoration of Robert Gutherman's hearing, attributed to Mother Katharine Drexel's intercession, was miraculous. On January 27, 2000, the Holy Father decreed that the healing of Amy Wall's hearing attributed to her intercession was a miracle as well.

Upon the canonization of Blessed Katharine Drexel, Philadelphia will become the only diocese in the United States with two canonized saints. Saint John Neumann, the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia, was canonized June 19, 1977.


Editor's Note: Cardinal Bevilacqua is in Rome on an Archdiocesan pilgrimage and is therefore unavailable for media interviews.

Catherine Rossi

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