BENSALEM, Pennsylvania, FEB. 28, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. episcopal conference named the shrine of St. Katherine Drexel as a national shrine, making it the 27th with that title in the United States.
“It was with great pleasure that I received the news that the Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel has been elevated in status to a National Shrine,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia. “This designation is especially gratifying because Mother Katharine’s love of the Holy Eucharist and care for God’s poor and oppressed was formed in the archdiocese of Philadelphia.
“I pray that the honor bestowed upon the shrine will open opportunities for others to hear God’s word and reflect upon St. Katharine’s message of love and service to all.”
Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia in 1858. Her life was devoted to the Eucharist and to serving the poor and socially oppressed among Native and African Americans.
Mother Drexel built the shrine in 1893, two years after founding the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She spent the final 20 years of her life in prayer and reflection at the mother house in Bensalem, located just outside Philadelphia. Her body is entombed under the main altar of St. Elizabeth Chapel.
Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1988, and almost 12 years later, aided by the 1994 healing of a deaf girl accepted as attributable to miraculous intercession, she was canonized in 2000.