COPYRIGHT 2020 © PRESERVATION ALLIANCE OF LAFAYETTE
Saint Paul Rectory was built with funds donated by Missionary, Saint Katharine Drexel, heiress and founder of the order, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 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 was educated at home, and traveled throughout the United States with her parents. During her travels, she was moved by the difficult circumstances faced by Native Americans and African Americans 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 “Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored”, opened a boarding school in Santa Fe. A string of foundations followed, and by 1942, she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, plus 40 mission centers and 23 rural schools. Segregationists harassed her work, even burning a school in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, she established 50 missions for Indigenous Peoples in 16 states. When she visited Lafayette in early 1914, she donated the funds to build a rectory for Saint Paul the Apostle Church.