Philadelphia saint's new resting place visited by Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament

Mark Abrams
October 30, 2018 - 3:00 pm
Sister Donna Breslin (front) president of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, examines the newly installed tomb of St. Katharine Drexel in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, next to Sister Jane Nesmith, the order's vice president.

Mark Abrams/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The tomb of Philadelphia's Saint Katharine Drexel inside the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was formally opened to the public on Tuesday.

"I cannot believe how beautiful this is," said Sister Donna Breslin, president of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, in describing the new location of the tomb of the order's founder.

The closing of the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, founded by Saint Katharine Drexel, necessitated finding a place for her remains.

"It's just so amazing to see how it has been recreated almost to an inch of how this sarcophagus — resting place — looks as if it's right at our motherhouse," Breslin added.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia offered to take the saint's remains after the sisters, who were facing financial challenges, decided to sell the Bensalem property where she established a convent and mission headquarters.

Father Dennis Gill, rector of the Cathedral Basilica, said the location sits in front of an altar actually dedicated to the Philadelphia saint.

"The mosaic that's in place above that area which was put in place after the International Eucharistic Congress contains a mosaic image of Saint Katharine with an African-American and a native Indian child, " Gill said.

"We have great hope that by Saint Katharine being here now that many, many more people will come to know about her, but most importantly come to know about the mission," Breslin said.

A Solemn Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles Chaput on Nov. 18 to mark the tomb's installation.