a group of angry intruders stopped at the edge of a clearing overlooking the
James River in remote Powhatan County, Virginia. Before them, a magnificent, new bell tower rose high into the peaceful night. Supporting the tower, a school building, with stained glass windows, stretched out on both sides. Several dependencies sat nearby. The bells in the tower would soon ring of opportunity.
Suddenly, torches of fire and intimidation streaked into the clearing. The intruders descended on the large building close to the school. Flames burst into the sky. The building was quickly overtaken and crashed under an enormous blaze.
Having issued their fiery warning, the group disappeared into the darkness.

The source of the attackers' displeasure, the school’s builder, was a woman - and she never wavered. She was a relatively wealthy, determined individual who grew up near Independence Hall in Philadelphia. She had recently become a nun. The new school she had built, St. Francis de Sales, was her first private school for African American high school girls.
Here, Katharine Drexel would start a gentle but successful revolution.

Katharine Drexel - Catholic and American Saint
The Powhatan fire was the first of many confrontations Katharine Drexel would endure in a courageous, hugely successful mission which benefited hundreds of thousands of Americans. It is a mission every American should know, but few do.

In March of 2000, Katharine Drexel was canonized by Pope John Paul II in Rome as Saint Katharine Drexel. After educating and improving the lives of so many Americans, it is curious to note that Katharine Drexel is recognized in Rome but nearly forgotten in her own country. Read more about her accomplishments here.

Today, St. Francis de Sales is an abandoned building in sad disrepair and threatened by irreparable structural damage. A once proud castle of hope and opportunity is now in desperate need. With your help, that will change.


Help preserve this American landmark and significant symbol of Saint Katharine Drexel's accomplishments - please contact info@katharinsfoundation.org