One of the most recent congregations of religious women in the Catholic Church and one of entirely American origin, founded by Miss Katharine Drexel at Philadelphia, Pa., in 1889, for missionary work among the Indians and coloured people of the United States. The formal approbation of the Holy See was given to the congregation in July, 1907.
The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore gave a new impetus to missionary work among the coloured and Indian races and as one of the results of its recommendations, Right Reverend James O'Connor, Bishop of Omaha, acting in conjunction with Miss Katherine Drexel, daughter of the late Francis A. Drexel of Philadelphia, decided with the approval of the Most Reverend P. J. Ryan, Archbishop of Philadelphia, to form a new congregation of two races. For some years previous to this step, Miss Drexel had been very active in re-establishing and supporting schools in many of the Indian reservations. The survey of the field of work revealed about 250,000 Indians neglected, if not practically abandoned, and over nine million of negroes still struggling through the aftermath of slavery.
The piteous condition of these two races decided Miss Drexel to devote both her fortune and her life to them. With the approval of high church authorities in the United States she gathered around her young women imbued with the same ideas, and thus founded, towards the close of 1899, the nucleus of the new community. In order to be well grounded in the principles of the religious life, the first members made a two years' noviiate with the Sisters of Mercy . After this, they continued their period of preparation in the old Drexel homestead, Torresdale, near Philadelphia. Early in 1892 a mother-house and novitiate were opened at Maud, Pennsylvania, adjoining which was erected a manual training and boarding school for coloured boys and girls.
The distinctive spirit of this institute is the consecration of its members, body and soul, to the service to Jesus Christ ever present in the Holy Eucharist. His Eucharistic life is to be the inspiration of the entire varied activity of the sisters. Besides the vows usual in all religious communities, the sisters pledge themselves to work exclusively for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the Indian and coloured races. By their rule, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament may
The sisterhood now numbers one hundred and twelve members. In 1894, St. Catharine's boarding and industrial school for Pueblo Indians was opened at Santa Fe, New Mexico ; in 1899, the Institute of St. Francis de Sales, Rock Castle, Va., a boarding academy and industrial school, was opened for the training of Southern coloured girls; in 1902, St. Michael's Mission, Arizona, for the education of Navajo Indians, a boarding and industrial school, was completed and opened. The Academy of the Immaculate Mother, Nashville, Tenn., was opened in 1905. In this school girls are also trained to become teachers, while others not desiring to teach may tke a full course of domestic science and dressmaking. In 1906, the sisters commenced work at Carlisle, Pa., by instructing the Indian pupils of the Government School, and conducting a day school for coloured children.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online