Photo courtesy of WomenofGrace.com
In a 2009 interview, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the woman behind the quote "Well behaved women seldom make history", answered question on the benefit of looking back on the lives of women in history by touting the diverse ways women have engaged in public life over time. She noted how throughout history, women have "invented things, been leaders, been good at gardening, religious heroines. They've been queens.". To celebrate Women's History Month, your humble blogger would like to take a look at the religious heroines of the historical equation-in particular, St. Katharine Drexel.
Given her feast day was celebrated on March 3, it seems fitting to honor the Philadelphia heiress who gave it up to help the marginalized of her time as a part of not just Catholic history, but women's history. Born to a wealthy family, she went on to become the foundress of a Catholic religious order dedicated to missionary work to Native Americans and African Americans. Her story exemplifies the power of faith lived out, especially in the most adverse of circumstances.
In the aforementioned interview, Ulrich asserted "If you look at the long view, women have always contributed to the economy of their society...". In this light, St. Katharine Drexel demonstrates how helping those on the fringes is the heart of impactful contribution to the economy of society.
A great account of St. Katharine Drexel's life and work can be found here: http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Oct2000/feature1.asp