Katharine Drexel, the second American-born canonized saint, was born into great wealth in Philadelphia in 1858. Her mother died soon after Katharine’s birth, and she was raised by her father and stepmother, both known for their philanthropy, especially their generosity to the poor.
As a young heiress, Katharine traveled extensively across the U.S. and became aware of the difficult circumstances faced by Native Americans and African Americans. After her father and stepmother died, Katharine determined to use her inherited wealth to help these groups.
Traveling in Europe in 1887, she asked Pope Leo XIII for help in sending missionaries to the many institutions she funded, including a school in South Dakota. The pope challenged the heiress to undertake the mission herself.
After much discernment, Katharine decided to devote not just her fortune (worth more than $200 million today), but her life to the poor. In 1889, at age thirty, she entered the Sisters of Mercy. Read More Here