Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Let's put St. Katharine Drexel's image on the ten-dollar bill

Jacob Lew, Secretary of the Treasury, wants to take Alexander Hamilton's image off the ten dollar bill and replace it with the image of a woman--perhaps Rosa Parks. Ben Bernanke, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, wants to leave Alexander Hamilton on the tenner and replace Andrew Jackson (now on the twenty dollar bill) instead. Bernanke argues that Jackson wasn't a very good president; and, given Jackson's views on a national bank, he probably wouldn't mind having his face removed from our currency.

I'm not sure I agree with Bernanke's assessment of Jackson. Jackson won the battle of New Orleans, after all. If he hadn't won, Louisianians would probably be drinking British tea now instead of our wonderful Community Coffee. It's distressing to think about!

In any event, I have another suggestion. Why not place St. Katharine Drexel's image on the ten dollar bill? A Catholic's image has never been featured on any of our currency; and St. Katharine would be a good person to fill the bill, so to speak.

St. Katharine Drexel
St. Katharine Drexel, for those who are not familiar with her, gave up the Drexel banking fortune to become a nun and founded the order of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. The SBS was dedicated to serving Native Americans and African Americans, and it fought racism all across the United States in the early 20th century.

Wouldn't it be lovely to see St.Katharine Drexel's face every time we pulled out a ten spot and started to spend it on something foolish? Her image would be a reminder that we should be more frugal and spend some of our wealth helping the less fortunate. Placing St. Katharine on the ten dollar bill would give us a twofer: she is both a woman and a representative of a religious minority.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha
And if St. Katharine is unacceptable because she wore religious garb, then how about St. Kateri Tekakwitha? She would give us a threefer. She is a woman, a Catholic saint, and a Native American.