Wednesday, March 03, 2010

How Kate Beat the Klan

During his 2008 visit to these shores, B16 singled out St Katharine Drexel among the ecclesial pioneers who "devoted their lives to educating those whom others had neglected –- in her case, African Americans and Native Americans."

To be sure, the saintly mother's efforts in the South and Southwest didn't come without flack... but Providence had its way of caring for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and their work to combat racism -- a mission never undertaken so much with words as concrete, self-sacrificing, life-giving action.

A reader asked about the following story... and, indeed, the accounts note it:
Although Mother Drexel and the women of her order were dedicated to eliminating racial lines, the people they encountered in their work were not often on their side. One such group of people were the Ku Klux Klan who in 1922 "threatened to tar and feather... at one of Drexel’s schools and bomb his [sic] church" in Beaumont, Texas.

The nuns prayed and days later, a tornado came and destroyed the headquarters of the KKK, killing two of their members.

The Sisters were never threatened again.
Now, lest anyone's tempted to pray to said effect, think again... you'd be way out of line -- let alone the ways of this church. That's not the intent of this story.

What is, however, is Mother Katharine's famous exhortation to her sisters that "we must attract with joy" -- and, from that pure start, the rest always just had its way of working itself out.

Suffice it to say, the lesson -- and her example -- could use no shortage of heeding in these days, too... and, well, here's hoping for more of it.

PHOTO: Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament