How blessed we are to have access to so many holy shrines in this country, especially in the Philadelphia area where the Holy Father spent the grande finale of his United States visit. (Dare I refer to it as a pilgrimage?)
One of those Philadelphia area sites I have enjoyed “visiting”—pilgrimaging to—though only twice—is the National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel.
Reflecting on the Holy Father’s call to turn away from our selfishly expedient inclinations to be a disposable culture, I was thinking about the witness of the foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, whom the Pope spoke about in his Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral: St. Katharine Drexel.
It struck me that–had it been on the itinerary–the Pope would have appreciated seeing St. Katharine Drexel’s writing implements, a small collection of which are on display at the shrine. Not wanting to waste any resources, including pencils, this holy woman used pencils that made the “golf score card” pencils look long by comparison. (“Nibs” is what comes to mind to describe what was left of those pencils that she still was using.)
As someone who dreamed of teaching on a Native American Indian Reservation (but never did), I felt especially drawn to this woman of God who did act on her concerns for the education, secular and spiritual, of Native and African- American children.
Mostly, though, I love how much she loved Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. She loved Him enough to make what seems to be an extravagant (and to some—a foolish) disposal; that of her disposable (inherited) income, using all the wealth she had, not to live the life of a fashionable Philadelphia socialite, but to use it for the good of others.
St. Katharine Drexel, teach us to dispose the things that we should dispose of—hatred, fear, greed, unforgiveness, jealousy—all the capital sins. Teach us to put ourselves, our gifts, our talents, our money resources, perhaps not as radically as you did, but all we have that is possible, at the service of the Lord…
One fruit of retirement, I hope, will be to dispose of things that need to be disposed of, and to be more conscious of not disposing things that need to be respected as gifts..little things and big things–like relationships, starting with my relationship with God…
What might you dispose, or not dispose, of?