St. Katharine may be the canonized member of the Drexel family, but her youngest sister, Louise, was also a philanthropist who used her family fortune to help the needy.
The two women and their oldest sister, Elizabeth, inherited a $14 million trust fund upon their parents' death. Each received about $1,000 a day in income from the estate.
The sisters were close and supported each other's charities. Louise and Elizabeth accompanied Katharine when she visited the Dakota Territory missions, and they helped pay for a new school for Indian children,
In 1889, Louise married a wealthy lawyer named Edward Morrell in a ceremony presided over by an archbishop and covered by The New York Times.
The Drexel trust fund stipulated that funds were to be divided only among the three sisters, so when Elizabeth Drexel Smith died in childbirth in 1890, her share went to Katharine and Louise.
Elizabeth had established the St. Francis Industrial School for Boys, which Louise now supported financially. Louise also established a home for boys who had graduated from St. Francis and worked int he city. In 1914, Louise turned the home over to the Salesians, but she continued as its benefactor. Louise and her husband founded St. Emma's Agricultural and Industrial School (named after Louise's mother, Emma Bouvier Drexel) in Virginia for African-American men, and Louise supported the Catholic Interracial Movement.
Louise Drexel Morrell died on November 5, 1945.
- Little Black Book, Diocese of Saginaw