St. Katharine Drexel (Wikimedia Commons)

Archdiocesan Catholic Social Services will host a webinar on a local saint who devoted her life to the Black and Native American communities.

“St. Katharine Drexel – Her Prophetic Mission to Serve and Advocate for Black and Native American Children, and Our Call to Engage in Works of Charity and Justice Today” will take place on March 4 at 12 p.m. via Zoom.

Presenters will include CSS director of mission integration Edward Lis; Sister of the Blessed Sacrament Pat Downs, a vowed member of the religious congregation founded by St. Katharine Drexel; and Joyce Hadley, a lay associate leader within the same community.

Sister Patricia entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in September 1955.  Having grown up in the Albany (New York) Diocese, she earned a bachelor of arts in sociology and social work from Xavier University of Louisiana, founded by Katharine Drexel in 1925. Sister Pat served in religious education at assignments in New Mexico and Louisiana. She then developed the  Community Resource Center for the Haitian community in Belle Glade, Florida, and spent over a decade living and working in Haiti in community empowerment ministry. She returned to the U.S. and served as Director of the St. Katharine Drexel Mission Center and National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel for 14 years. Currently retired, she now lived with other members of her religious community in Northeast Philadelphia.

Joyce Hadley is a Lay Associate of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and chairs the order’s social justice committee, as well as a member of the program committee for Cranaleith Spiritual Center. A board member of the Bucks County Human Relations Council, and a facilitator for the Peace Center in Langhorne, Hadley serves as a committeewoman in Trevose, and previously served as school board director for Bensalem Township. The first African American candidate for Bucks County Commissioner, she is a past officer of the Bucks County NAACP.  She grew up in Concord Park, the first intentionally planned integrated community in the U.S. Hadley holds a B.A. in journalism from Temple University, and retired from Verizon Communications in 2012. Her recognitions include the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award from Bensalem High School, the Legends in Peace Award from The Peace Center, the Al Krass Peace Award from the Interfaith Community of Bucks County; and the NAACP Community Service Award.


To join the webinar, visit and enter meeting ID 989 5006 1062 and passcode 890729, or dial +1 646-558-8656 or +1 301-715-8592 and enter meeting ID 989 5006 1062.

Click here for information on additional Archdiocese of Philadelphia commemorations of St. Katharine Drexel, including a novena preceding her March 3 feast.