Drexel Needed Today More Than Ever

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, March 18 — In a lead editorial, the Philadelphia Inquirer called Blessed Katharine Drexel “a model for a self-denying, hard-working, contrary-to-expectations life.”

Though the Inquirer acknowledged that few of us are able or willing to follow in the soon-to-be-saint Drexel's footsteps, the paper said Drexel remains a hero to many.

“People starve for models of human goodness,” the paper said. “Few of us speak of it — it seems so kid-stuff, so school-days — but the hunger for goodness burns on.”

“Mother Drexel's example feeds the hunger,” the paper added.

What is so special about Drexel, who will be canonized Oct. 1?

“In the 1890s, a Philadelphia high-society heiress turns her back on her father's banking fortune and dedicates her life to God,” said the Inquirer about Drexel. “Years before it was fashionable, she devotes herself to the service of poor blacks and Native Americans.”

Saintly people like Blessed Katharine Drexel is just what the world needs now, the Inquirer said.

“Mother Katharine Drexel exemplifies the notion of a saint,” the paper said. “She's the second saint Philadelphia has given the world — a world much in need of them.”

No Joy in Florida's Anti-Voucher Ruling

RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER, March 18 — Liberal columnist William Raspberry isn't celebrating the defeat of a Florida voucher program.

“Jeb Bush's plan was, I am convinced, a serious attempt to make things better. But his effort, with its focus on vouchers and non-public schools, put him, in the minds of many, on the side of the enemies of public education,” said the columnist.

Even though such enemies do exist, that doesn't mean all supporters of the Florida voucher program hate public education, said Raspberry.

“The supporters of vouchers and other experiments also include — I suspect in greater numbers — people whose commitment is not to an ideology but to getting children educated.”

Supporters of public education, Raspberry said, must be more open-minded to change.

“I get nervous when well-meaning supporters of public education automatically oppose any new scheme that involves nonpublic approaches. The condition of our schools is serious enough — particularly in schools serving the urban and rural poor — that we need to be willing to try anything that shows real promise of improving the lives of our children. That's why I'm not celebrating Jeb Bush's courtroom defeat.”