From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to this work. In 1894, Mother Drexel took part in opening the first mission school for Native Americans, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed – for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the African Americans in the southern part of the United States. In 1915, she founded Xavier University in New Orleans. At her death there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country.
Katharine was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1988. Because of her lifelong dedication to her faith and her selfless service to the oppressed, Pope John Paul II canonized her on October 1, 2000, leading her to become only the second recognized American-born saint.