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Catholic men’s residence celebrates feast day of St. Katharine Drexel

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone visited the Drexel House on Wentworth Street on March 2 to honor the feast day of its patron, St. Katharine Drexel.

“God has a call for everyone, and part of life is trying to figure out where that call is leading us,” Bishop Guglielmone told the inhabitants of the Catholic men’s residence.

The Drexel House opened in 2011. Originally, the property was a synagogue that was purchased in 1866 as a parish for freed Catholic slaves. That parish was St. Peter and it  served as a church and school to the growing community of African-American Catholics. In 1929, Mother Katharine Drexel visited the property and offered support to the work of the priests and sisters.

In 1967, the parishes of St. Peter and St. Patrick churches merged, and in 1968 the former grounds were demolished. A new convent was built on the site where the Oblate Sisters of Divine Providence lived until 1999.

In 2000, in honor of Mother Drexel’s canonization, the former convent was renamed the Drexel House.

In his visit, Bishop Guglielmone said evening prayer and joined in a celebratory dinner with residents and alumni of the house. Sitting around the table, the alumni told the bishop about their experience living there.

Seth Toft, a Charleston area paramedic, lived in the house last year. He attributed his time in the house with finding his vocation — he will be married on March 9.

“The house helped me to see marriage as a vocation, and as a way to live my faith,” he said.

“It was the prayer and community of the house that helped me to discern the priesthood, and apply to the seminary,” Rhett Williams, a seminarian for the Diocese of Charleston, explained to the bishop.

Bishop Guglielmone thanked the men for their stories and said the house was an important resource to young Catholics to find their call in the church and society.


PHOTO:  Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone talks to men at the Drexel House on March 2 during the feast day of its patron, St. Katharine Drexel.

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