May 25, 2019

Heeding God’s Call

St. Katharine Drexel

Each day, life calls us. At morning, noon, and night there is a temptation to allow the voices present in our work and home lives to consume us. But, I wonder. While it is true that we are called to be responsible to the voices that surround us, do we not also bear responsibility to the soft voice that calls us from within?

In the Gospels, Jesus of Nazareth first called the disciples to come and see. Later, they came to believe that He had been heaven sent. As word of Jesus spread, others were also called: Those with physical limitations. Those deeply troubled by their sins. After answering Jesus’ call, they were transformed and began to live their lives in a more fulfilling way.

Today, how many of us remember the day of our baptism? Unless we received the sacrament as an adult, the answer is zero. But despite no recollection of our baptismal day, from that day forward the voice of God began to speak to us in powerful ways. The Spirit began to call, prod, and motion us toward new possibilities and direction for our lives, a work that continues to this day.

Many years ago, there was a young and pious girl named Katharine Drexel (1858-1955). In her late teens, she inherited millions ($4 million then and worth $400 million now). After conferring with two priests, she became aware of the need for ministry to native Americans and colored people. After a time, her concern became so great that she traveled to Rome and received an audience with His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII.

In speaking with him about this need, she asked him to send missionaries. After some thought, however, Leo turned to Katharine and told her: “Then you do it.”

After leaving her audience with Pope Leo, it is said that Katharine had a lump in her throat and that tears streamed down her face. But with a resolve to do what he had instructed, she returned to Philadelphia and entered a convent. After a time, she received permission to begin a new order of sisters, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

By her death on 3 March 1955, Saint Katharine Drexel had given away her entire earthly treasure. With prayerful insights, she had poured them into God’s holy people. In doing so, she set in force a movement that continues to this day.

In reflecting upon the powerful way that God has called his people, it is noteworthy that God continues to call his people. Yes, you and me!

What is he asking? To answer that question, we must first pick up the phone.

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Written by
Deacon Kurt Godfryd

REVEREND MR. KURT GODFRYD is editor of Catholic Journal and a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Married and the father of five children, Deacon Kurt was ordained to the diaconate on October 4, 2008 by His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida and is assigned to St. Clement of Rome parish in Romeo, Michigan. A native Detroiter, he was educated at the Jesuit-run University of Detroit Mercy, where he received a B.S. in finance, M.B.A., and M.A. in economics. His theological training was taken at Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where he earned an M.A. in pastoral ministry.

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Written by Deacon Kurt Godfryd