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That time when the KKK was defeated by a nun

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It didn't take much for St. Katharine Drexel to thwart the group's violent plans.

St. Katharine Drexel was a pioneer in many ways. After seeing the plight of the Native Americans, she founded a religious order that she hoped could help relieve the suffering of the poor and vulnerable minorities of the country.

She blazed a trail west, ministering to the Native Americans and African Americans so severely treated by much of the population. By the end of her life she’d established well over 100 missions, 50 schools for African American children and 12 schools for Native Americans.

Unsurprisingly, her work with minorities drew sharp criticism and even violence.

In 1922 the Ku Klux Klan started to target Mother Katharine and her work. The sisters received a letter that “‘threatened to tar and feather the white pastor at one of Drexel’s schools and bomb his church’ in Beaumont, Texas.”

The sisters then did what they knew best. They prayed.

According to one account, “days later, a tornado came and destroyed the headquarters of the KKK killing two of their members. The Sisters were never threatened again.”

While the KKK did learn a lesson that day, Mother Katharine constantly affirmed that it is love and joy that attracts people to the truth and ultimately changes their hearts.

She once said, “If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open wide our hearts. It is joy which invites us. Press forward and fear nothing.”


Read the stories of more Catholic heroes who fought the evil of racism:

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