Feast of St. Katharine Drexel
"From all their distress, God rescues the just."(Ps34:18b) Doing the work of justice receives encouragement from the Word today, and from the remembrance of St. Katharine Drexel. Coming from a wealthy background she sowed the seed that God entrusted to her generously. When she died in 1955, at the age of 96, her life had spanned the era of slavery and the Indian wars to the dawn of the civil rights movement. In 1878 during a private audience with Pope Leo XIII she begged him to send priests to serve the Indians. He responded: "Why not become a missionary yourself?"
She searched for a congregation corresponding to her own sense of mission. Finding none she established the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored people in 1891
Moher Drexel in her lifetime established 145 Catholic missions and 12 schools for Indians and 50 schools for Black students, including Xavier University.
Doing justice is the establishing of right relationships at every level of society. Doing justice is the constant willingness to use our time gnerously for the sake of changing structures which inhibit the development of right relationships. This generous use of time for the sake of others can be squandered and missed. Recently, I heard a presenter challenge a group of which I was a part, to willingly change 10% in order to further the "good" of whatever mission we were undertaking.
After reading the gospel, ponder the words of Mother Drexel: "Resolve: Generously and with no half-hearted, timorous dread of the opinion of church and men to manifest my mission….You have no time to occupy your thoughts with the complacency or consideration of what others will think. Your business is simply, ‘What will my Father in heaven think?’"
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, Birmingham, Alabama.