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Heiress Who Founded Order of Nuns a Step Closer to Sainthood

December 10, 1987|United Press International

PHILADELPHIA — Mother Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia heiress who founded an order of Roman Catholic nuns, has moved one step closer toward sainthood, the Philadelphia archdiocese said today.

Cardinal John Krol said the Vatican notified him Wednesday that its medical consultation board "has unanimously approved the most recent miracle attributed to her."

The miracle attributed to Mother Katharine, who died in 1955 at the age of 96, involved a deaf boy whose inner-ear bones were destroyed by infection. The boy's mother prayed to Mother Katharine for intercession and he was cured in 1974, Krol said.

The board could find no medical basis for his cure, the archdiocese said.

Pope John Paul II can now declare Mother Katharine "blessed," a key step toward sainthood.

Mother Katharine was a Philadelphia socialite who caused a stir by entering the Sisters of Mercy convent in Pittsburgh in 1889. She gave away $20 million and embraced a life of poverty.

She founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, an order of nuns who worked exclusively with blacks and American Indians.

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