Saint Paul Rectory
Saint Paul Rectory
Built Circa Year: Built Circa 1910
Address: 326 South Washington Street
National Register of Historic Places: Lafayette Historic Register Number 111
Historic Register Listing:Designated August 16, 2018

Saint Paul Rectory was built with funds donated by Saint Katharine Drexel, heiress and foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament religious order. Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1858. Her father, Francis Anthony Drexel, was a financier and business partner of J.P. Morgan. In addition to their great wealth, her parents were known for their philanthropic endeavors. Drexel traveled throughout the United States with her parents, and during their travels, she was moved by the difficult circumstances faced by the Indigenous and Blacks across the country. By the time she was 27 years old, Drexel’s parents had died, and she began to use her inherited wealth to help these groups. After three and a half years of training, Mother Drexel and her order opened a boarding school in Santa Fe. A string of foundations followed, and by 1942, the order had a system of Black Catholic schools, mission centers, and rural schools. Bigots harassed her work, even burning a school in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, during her life she established 145 missions, 49 elementary schools and 12 high schools. She visited Lafayette in early 1914 and donated the funds to build this rectory. Today, her order continues its missionary and educational work.