Community Engagement November 19 2018

Philadelphia PA – More than 2,000 people packed the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Sunday to celebrate the installation of a tomb for St. Katharine Drexel.

Mass Celebrates New Tomb of St. Katharine Drexel
 
Philadelphia PA – More than 2,000 people packed the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Sunday to celebrate the installation of a tomb for St. Katharine Drexel.

Seated alongside the members of the Drexel family and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament were Xavier University President Reynold Verret, several members of Xavier’s Board of Trustees, and Xavier alumni. Xavier’s Concert Choir, directed by Dr. John Ware, performed during the special Mass. 

"I cannot believe how beautiful this is," said Sister Donna Breslin, president of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, in describing the new location of the tomb of the order's founder. "It's just so amazing to see how it has been recreated almost to an inch of how this sarcophagus — resting place — looks as if it's right at our motherhouse," she added.

The closing of the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, founded by Saint Katharine Drexel, necessitated finding a place for her remains. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia offered to take the saint's remains after the sisters, who were facing financial challenges, decided to sell the Bensalem property where she established a convent and mission headquarters.

Father Dennis Gill, rector of the Cathedral Basilica, said the location sits in front of an altar actually dedicated to the Philadelphia saint.

"The mosaic that's in place above that area which was put in place after the International Eucharistic Congress contains a mosaic image of Saint Katharine with an African-American and a native Indian child," said Gill.

"We have great hope that by Saint Katharine being here now that many, many more people will come to know about her, but most importantly come to know about the mission," said Breslin.