Robert Barron | – Bishop Barron on St. Katharine Drexel, the Pope, and Personal Action

Friends, I encourage you to watch this clip from our “CATHOLICISM” series on St. Katharine Drexel. As a wealthy young laywoman, disturbed by the treatment of Native Americans, she traveled to Rome and had an audience with Pope Leo XIII. She begged the Holy Father to create an order of priests or nuns to teach and love the Native Americans. But the Pope fixed her with his gaze and said, “You should be that missionary.” The Pope’s words struck a nerve and changed Katharine’s life. She recognized that her deep discomfort with injustice was a sign that God was calling her to take personal action, not to wait for others to move.


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About The Author

Bishop Robert Barron These are brief and insightful commentaries on faith and culture by Catholic theologian and author Bishop Robert Barron. The videos complement his weekly sermons posted and podcasted at

Comment (44)

  1. As a RCIA catechist, I desperately want this year to communicate this burning desire to candidates and catechumens to embrace the Universal Call to Holiness; them and us want to be saints using our hearts, minds, creativity, and money. St. Katharine Drexel, pray for us.

  2. Saint Katherine Drexel✝️ Pray for us✝️ My Great grandmother attended Saint Louis School for girls in Pawhuska Oklahoma and then in Sante Fe her daughter attended the School right next to the Loretta Chapel. It was in this Church (Loretta)while I was venerating Saint Saint Joseph and Saint Katherine Drexel that I experienced a supernatural experience. I experienced the “Odor of Sanctity”✝️❤️

  3. The miracles of Jesus

    The Qur’an affirms many of the miracles that Jesus performed in the New Testament: “…I will heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead back to life with God’s
    permission; I will tell you what you may eat and what you may store up in your houses. There truly is a sign for you in this, if you are believers” [3:49]. It’s important to understand that, even though Jesus performed numerous miracles throughout his life, this is not a reason to attribute divinity to him. The Qur’an states that God gifted His messengers with amazing signs in order to bring their people to faith: “We sent Our messengers with clear signs…” [57:25] One such example is Moses splitting the sea. The Qur’an informs us that Jesus is no exception in this regard: “We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear signs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit.” [2:87]

    Some people use the reasoning that because the birth of Jesus was miraculous and he had no earthly father, then he must have a heavenly one, and so they conclude that he is literally the Son of God. Is this really the case? The Qur’an puts forward a powerful argument: “In God’s eyes Jesus is just like Adam: He created him from dust, said to him, ‘Be’, and he was” [3:59].

    The Qur’an’s argument is thus: the creation of the first human being, Adam, was also a miracle, as he had no father or mother. Yet no-one attributes divinity to Adam by virtue of his miraculous creation. For that reason then, people should not attribute divinity to Jesus on account of his miraculous birth. Thinking along similar lines, the creation of Eve, the first woman, was also miraculous, for she was created from Adam’s rib: a woman brought forth from a man. Note the consistency of the Qur’an, everything in the creation is a result of God’s creative power: God merely says ‘Be’ and it is brought into creation. Jesus is no different in this regard.

  4. I wonder, Bishop, how saints are made. Is one born a saint, or does one choose to be a saint, or does God make one a saint? Probably a mix of all three, but only the second option is freely open to most of us. So, let's choose. Thank you for the focus!

  5. Thank you for your work. The Lord uses you and I too want to be a saint. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you. Pray for my baptism into the Catholic church as I discern my way through my current roles in Protestant ministries…

  6. Thank you your Bishop Barron, I hadn't heard of St Katharine until now. She was certainly a Saint of our times. Perhaps BLM should take her as their model. We ALL need to emulate her chrism to enrich our countries and the world. Prayers and peace for ALL humanity, from the Great South Land; Land of The Holy Spirit.

  7. Imagine if some rather rude and misled protestors decided to tear St. Katherine's statues and images down because they depicted her with Native Americans and people of color. We need more beautiful stories of our saintly tradition to be heard by all. Thanks so much Bishop; the presentation and editing by your team melts my humble video-editor-heart.

  8. Will there be any series on Martyrs – St Charles Lwanga and Companions, St. Peter Damien….in particular those that stood for Catholic Teaching that can show us how to stand up for the rights of God when in conflict with the secular world…Miguel Blessed Pro…

  9. I really doubt that St. Katherine’s ministry to the Native Americans and Black Americans was about justice as we know the word to mean in the 21st century. Her ministry was about education and establishing mission churches. There is no indication that her ministry was to seek justice but to care, teach, convert, and preach the Lord’s Word.

  10. Enjoyed this video of the founder of my high school which closed in 1970. I am the class of 1969….St. Francis de Sales is that school along the James River in Powhatan, Virginia which is now sadly being reclaimed by nature and lays in ruin. I visited this past June and was brought to tears. So many people don't even know about my school or the first black military academy established on the Belmead estate…St. Emma Military Academy. We, the alumni are trying to bring our history to light so it is not forgotten.

  11. Praise God for people of good will everywhere. As an immigrant, Catholic, and a Black woman, I find a lot of solace in meditating on St Catherine Drexel’s life. Thank you Bishop for your evangelization mission. I can never praise the Lord enough for the gift that you are. Thanks for helping me hang on to the Hope that Jesus is.

  12. Monseigneur, je vous admire énormément. Vous êtes une véritable lumière pour le peuple de Dieu. J’aimerais bien entrer en contact avec vous pour vous parler d’une mission qui me tient à coeur. Merci!

  13. My great-grandmother knew her. St. Katherine Drexel brought the Gospel to my family here on our Navajo Nation and on my great=grandmother's death bed, she took baptism, confirmation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion here in Fort Defiance. Through St Drexel's holy intersession, our family has the Holy Gospel. God bless St. Katherine Drexel and pray for the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.