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Saintly charity – Philanthropist to be canonized

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Forty-five years after her death, philanthropist Katharine Drexel will be canonized for her lifetime dedication to providing education for poor blacks and American Indians, the Associated Press reports.

Pope John Paul II approved sainthood for Drexel, a Philadelphia socialite who took a vow of poverty and used her $20 million inheritance to establish schools for American Indian and black students.

Drexel – who will be canonized at the Vatican on Oct. 1 – will be the second American-born saint, following Sisters of Charity founder Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was canonized in 1975.

Born the daughter of a banking magnate in 1858, Drexel entered a convent at age 30 and used her inheritance to establish a missionary order.

In her lifetime, the order established 12 American Indian schools and over 100 rural and inner-city schools.

Xavier University – the nation’s only historically black Catholic college – was established in New Orleans by Drexel’s fund.

The Vatican confirmed that Drexel performed two miracles during her lifetime – curing a grown man and a 7-year old child of deafness.

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