8S055 Dugan Road, Sugar Grove, IL 60554    |    630-466-0303    |   info@skdmail.org




In late October of 2008, Bishop Thomas G. Doran established the parish of St. Katharine Drexel in Sugar Grove, Illinois. The new parish was founded thanks to a major gift from Anthony, Jerry and Keith Rich, local Sugar Grove businessmen. In early November, Bishop Doran named Rev. Robert Jones pastor of the first new parish formed in the Rockford Diocese since 1989.

Once Rev. Jones assumed his pastorate, getting a feel for the community of St. Katharine Drexel became a priority. A survey, part of the planning study, was used to assess the views of St. Katharine Drexel parishioners. Parish members were solicited to give feedback regarding building priorities as well as their views regarding the impact church has on parishioners’ lives, the neighborhood, and the Sugar Grove community at large. Another important component of the survey was to assess the willingness of the parish to provide spiritual, emotional and financial support as the future vision and direction of the parish evolved.

The initial planning study of this new parish showed a strong desire to build a faith community grounded in a welcoming atmosphere and deep care for the parish family and those in need throughout our local community. This was evident from the start as parishioners gladly worked every weekend and holidays to create church in the local John Shields Elementary School.

The groundbreaking for a permanent church home on Dugan Road was held in June of 2011. After four years in temporary quarters, the St. Katharine Drexel faith community, with newly installed Bishop David J. Malloy, celebrated the dedication of St. Anthony Chapel in St. Katharine Drexel Parish on December 1, 2012.

After a third successful capital campaign in 2017-2019, the parish added a rectory to its campus with the ability to house up to three permanent priests, active or retired, or seminarians. This home was dedicated in February of 2020.

In June of 2021 parishioners of St. Katharine Drexel Parish were happy to welcome Rev. Stephen St. Jules as the second pastor of the parish.

Since the establishment of St. Katharine Drexel Parish, it has become home to over 1,000 registered families and attendance at weekend Masses averages between 600-700 worshipers. The parish offers Family Faith Formation for Kindergarten through high school, adult faith formation programs, and weekly Eucharistic Adoration.

The spirit of the people of the parish mimics that of its patroness, St Katharine Drexel. The warm welcoming environment is evident to all.

St. Katharine Drexel Biography

St. Katharine Drexel

November 26, 1858 – March 3, 


  • St. Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia on November 26, 1858. 
  • Katharine was born to Francis Anthony Drexel and his wife Hannah Langstroth.
  • After their mothers death Katharine and her older sister Elizabeth went to live with their aunt and uncle.
  • After their father remarried a woman named Emma Bouvier the girls returned home
  • In 1863 a third daughter named Louise was born to complete their family.
  • The children grew up in a very loving family atmosphere permeated by a very deep faith.
  • Francis and Emma taught their daughters that the wealth that God had entrusted to them was meant to be shared with those in need.
  • Three afternoons a week Emma opened the doors of their home to serve the needs of the poor. When the girls were old enough, they assisted their mother in this ministry.
  • As a young woman, Katharine visited the Southwest with her family. These trips inspired her to open her first school in 1887, St. Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • In 1887 Katharine and her sisters got to meet with Pope Leo XIII where he suggested that Katharine should become a missionary which troubled her.
  • After much prayer and discernment Katharine Drexel entered into The Sisters of Mercy, in Pittsburg, PA 
  • Then on February 12, 1891, in an arrangement with Philadelphia Archbishop James O’Connor, Katharine Drexel established a new religious order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People to address social injustice, provide quality education, and spread the Gospel to the American Indians and Blacks.
  • From the age of 33 until her death at the age of 96, St. Katharine Drexel gave a “Total Gift of Self” to her ministry. She distributed her inheritance of more than $20 million to meet the needs of the Native and African Americans and was a vocal advocate for racial tolerance.
  • St. Katharine Drexel felt a universal need for education, so she financed more than 60 Catholic missions and schools around the United States.
  • In 1915, she founded Xavier Preparatory School, and in 1925 Xavier University in New Orleans. Today, Xavier University retains its distinction as the only historically Black, Catholic University in the United States.
  • In 1935, St. Katharine Drexel suffered a severe heart attack, and for the next twenty years she lived a contemplative life in retirement.
  • She died on March 3, 1955, at the age of 96 at St. Elizabeth Convent in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
  • At the time of her death The Sisters Of The Blessed Sacrament were the largest active religious congregation in the United States.


  • Katharine Drexel was beatified on November 20, 1988. She was canonized by Blessed Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000 and became the second recognized American-born saint.
  • St. Katharine Drexel is known as the Patron Saint of Social Justice, as well as Philanthropists. Her feast day is celebrated on March 3rd, the anniversary of her death.

The Vatican identified in St. Katharine a four-fold legacy:

  • A love of the Holy Eucharist and her perspective on the unity of all peoples.
  • Courage and 
  • initiative in addressing social inequality among minorities.
  • Her efforts to achieve quality education for all.
  • Her selfless service, including the donation of her inheritance, for the victims of injustice.

On August 2, 2018, St. Katharine Drexel’s sacred remains were transferred from the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament Motherhouse in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. The newly constructed tomb, located near the Drexel Family altar, is open for visitation and prayer. More information on the St. Katharine Drexel Shrine can be found at: https://www.saintkatharinedrexelshrine.com/