Lent: March 3rd
Optional Memorial of St. Katharine Drexel, virgin (USA)
Old Calendar: St. Cunegundes, virgin & empress (RM)
Today the dioceses of the United States celebrate the optional memorial of St. Katharine Drexel. Born into a wealthy Philadelphia family, Katharine took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of African and Native Americans. She founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, and opened mission schools in the West for Native Americans and in the South for African Americans. In 1915 she founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death, there were more than 500 sisters teaching in 63 schools.Historically today is the feast of St. Cunegundes who was Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. She and her husband, St. Henry II guarded perpetual virginity in their marriage. Together the couple carried out many pious works and practiced prayer and mortification. After his death in 1024, she went to the Convent of Kaufungen (Hesse), which she had founded. She died there in 1040 and was canonized by Pope Innocent III in 1200. Stational Church
St. Katharine Drexel
Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia in 1858. She had an excellent education and traveled widely. As a rich girl, she had a grand debut into society. But when she nursed her stepmother through a three-year terminal illness, she saw that all the Drexel money could not buy safety from pain or death, and her life took a profound turn.
- St. Katharine had a great love for the Eucharist, the center and source of her activity. Make a family visit to the Blessed Sacrament today.
- St. Katharine became a spiritual mother of African Americans and Native Americans, fighting for equal rights for these neglected ethnic groups. She was particularly concerned with achieving a quality education for these people. Find out about nearby educational programs for underprivileged inner city children (an excellent parent organization concerned with this is Youth Service International) and look for ways to support them. If you cannot give any of your time, consider making a small donation.
- St. Katharine grew up in a wealthy home but her parents instilled in her the understanding that her wealth belonged to her only on loan so that she could share it with others. She gave generously and with full trust in God. Do you tithe on a regular basis? Do you encourage your children to be generous with their allowance money?
- Visit this website about Katharine Drexel that features many photos, a history and information about her shrine.
Saint Cunegundes was the daughter of Siegfried, the first Count of Luxemburg, and Hadeswige, his pious wife. They instilled into her from her cradle the most tender sentiments of piety, and married her to St. Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who, upon the death of the Emperor Otho III., was chosen king of the Romans, and crowned on the 6th of June, 1002. She was crowned at Paderborn on St. Laurence's day. In the year 1014 she went with her husband to Rome, and received the imperial crown with him from the hands of Pope Benedict VIII. She had, by St. Henry's consent, before her marriage made a vow of virginity. Calumniators afterwards made vile accusations against her, and the holy empress, to remove the scandal of such a slander, trusting in God to prove her innocence, walked over red-hot ploughshares without being hurt. The emperor condemned his too scrupulous fears and credulity, and from that time they lived in the strictest union of hearts, conspiring to promote in everything God's honor and the advancement of piety.
- Read more about St. Cunegunda at Aquinas & More.
- Read about the life of St. Cunegunda's husband, King St. Henry II here.
- Watch this short Gloria.tv video about St. Cunegunda's life.
Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent, Station with Santa Cecilia in Trastevere (St. Cecilia in Trastevere):
The Station is at the church of St. Cecelia where the Saint lived and was martyred and where her body now rests. The first church on the site was built in the 3rd or 5th century, and the baptistery from this church was found during excavations, situated underneath the present Chapel of Relics. A house from the Imperial era was also found, and tradition claims that the church was built over the house in which St Cecilia lived. This house was one of the tituli, the first parish churches of Rome, known as the titulus Ceciliae.