Katherine Mary Drexel

Katharine Drexel | Founder of Xavier University LouisianaFounder, Xavier University of Louisiana

Katharine Mary Drexel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 1858, to Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Langstroth. Her family owned a considerable banking fortune, and her uncle Anthony Joseph Drexel was the founder of Drexel University in Philadelphia. She had two natural sisters, Louise and Elizabeth.

She took religious vows, and took the name Mother Katharine, dedicating herself and her inheritance to the needs of oppressed Native Americans and African-Americans in the western and southwestern United States, and was a vocal advocate of racial tolerance. She established a religious congregation, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. She also financed more than 60 missions and schools around the United States, as well as founding Xavier University of Louisiana – the only historically Black, Roman Catholic university in the United States to date.


Drexel Chapel

Saint Katharine Drexel Chapel