Margaret M. McGuinnessJan 3, 2024
Katharine Drexel and the Sisters Who Shared Her Vision
Paulist Press 2023
Although Katharine Drexel has been the subject of several biographies, they have tended to treat her as a perfect human being whom the Church later transformed into a saint. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters Who Shared Her Vision (Paulist Press, 2023) moves beyond the story of the heiress’s individual life devoted to God and shines a light on the work she did, assisted by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Drexel could have lived comfortably, wealthy and privileged, as a Philadelphia philanthropist but chose to found a religious congregation of women dedicated to working within Black and Indigenous communities―without receiving the bulk of the money left by Drexel's father.
Katharine Drexel and the Sisters Who Shared Her Vision is a critical biography of this American saint written within the context of the religious order she founded. It ties her sainthood to the Sisters’ ministries to Black and Indigenous communities; Margaret McGuinness's careful examination of the work Katharine Drexel and her Sisters accomplished brings a critical perspective to this important ministry in the Church. It deepens our understanding of these communities and renews our commitment to the difficult, ongoing conversation about race in America.
Allison Isidore is a Religious Studies Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa and is the Assistant Director for the American Catholic Historical Association. Her research interest is focused on the twentieth-century American Civil Rights Movement and the Catholic Church’s response to racism and the participation of Catholic clergy, nuns, and laypeople in marches, sit-ins, and kneel-ins during the 1950s and 1960s. She tweets from @AllisonIsidore1.