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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Other American-born saints

Eagle staff

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821)

A wife and mother, Seton founded the American Sisters of Charity. She was canonized by Pope Paul VI on Sept. 14, 1975. Born into a wealthy Protestant family in New York, Seton converted to Roman Catholicism after her husband’s death in 1805. Her conversion caused a split in her family, so she moved with her five children to Maryland, where she formed the American Sisters of Charity. She later opened the first free Roman Catholic school there, a forerunner of America’s system of parochial education. Her order also helped found hospitals and orphanages. Her feast day is Jan. 4.

St. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955)

Drexel was founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She was canonized Oct. 1, 2000, by Pope John Paul II. Drexel was born into a wealthy Philadelphia banking family. She became interested in helping Native Americans before she became a nun. She received her religious training from the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh, then founded her own order in 1891 to serve the needs of American Indians and blacks. She used her multimillion dollar inheritance to eventually open 12 American Indian schools and more than 100 rural and inner-city schools. She also founded Xavier University in New Orleans. Her feast day is March 3.

Source: Wichita Eagle archives

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