Kateri Tekakwitha

Kateri Tekakwitha

Infobox Saint
name=Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
baptized_date=April 18, 1676
death_date=April 17, 1680
feast_day=July 14 (United States)
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church (United States and Canada)

caption="The oldest known portrait of Kateri Tekakwitha, painted after her death by Father Chauchetière"
birth_place=Ossernenon, Iroquois Confederacy (Modern Auriesville, New York)
death_place=Kahnawake (near Montreal), Quebec, Canada
titles=Virgin; Lily of the Mohawks
beatified_date=June 22, 1980
beatified_by=Pope John Paul II
attributes=lily; turtle
loss of parents
people in exile
people ridiculed for their piety
major_shrine=St Francis Xavier Church, Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha or Blessed Catherine Tekakwitha (pronEng|ɡɔdeli deɡɔkwidɔ in Mohawk) (1656 – April 17, 1680), the daughter of a Mohawk warrior and a Catholic Algonquin woman, was born in the Mohawk fortress of Ossernenon near present-day Auriesville, New York. When she was four, smallpox swept through Ossernenon, and Tekakwitha was left with unsightly scars and poor eyesight. The outbreak took the lives of her brother and both her parents. She was then adopted by her uncle, who was a chief of the Turtle-clan.cite book | last=Lodi | first=Enzo | title=Saints of the Roman Calendar (Eng. Trans.) | publisher=Alba House | date=1992
location=New York | pages=419 pp. | doi=BX4655.2.L63513 | isbn=0-8189-0652-9
] As the adopted daughter of the chief, she was courted by many of the warriors looking for her hand in marriage.However, during this time she began taking interest in Christianity, which was taught to her by her mother.

In 1666, Alexandre de Prouville burned down Ossernenon. Kateri's clan then settled on the north side of the Mohawk River, near what is now Fonda, New York. While living here, at the age of 20, Tekakwitha was baptized on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1676 by Father Jacques de Lamberville, a Jesuit. At her baptism, she took the name "Kateri," a Mohawk pronunciation of the name "Catherine" as it was pronounced in French.

Unable to understand her zeal, members of the tribe often chastised her, which she took as a testament to her faith. Because she was persecuted by her Native American kin, which even resulted in threats on her life, she fled to an established community of Native American Christians located in Kahnawake, Quebec, where she lived a life dedicated to prayer, penance, and care for the sick and aged. In 1679, she took a vow of chastity, as in the Catholic expression of Consecrated virginity. A year later, Kateri died at the age of 24, with her last words being "Jesus, I love you!"

She is called "The Lily of the Mohawks," the "Mohawk Maiden," the "Pure and Tender Lily," and the "Fairest Flower among True Men." [Bunson, Margaret and Stephen, "Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks," Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions brochure, pg.1]


According to eyewitness accounts, Kateri's scars vanished at the time of her death revealing a woman of immense beauty. It has been claimed that at her funeral many of the ill who attended were healed on that day.Fact|date=February 2007 It is also held that she appeared to two different individuals in the weeks following her death. [Father Pierre Cholenec's biography of the Kateri Tekakwitha and her details of her apparitions [http://www.thelifeofkateritekakwitha.net/en/pc/chapter17.html] ]

The process for her canonization began in 1884. She was declared Venerable by Pope Pius XII on January 3, 1943. She was later beatified on June 22, 1980 by Pope John Paul II, and as such she is properly referred to as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha within the Roman Catholic Church. She is the first Native American to be so honored, and as such she holds a special place of devotion among the Native/Aboriginal Catholics of North America. Devotion to Blessed Kateri is clearly manifest in at least three national shrines in the United States alone, including the National Kateri Shrine in Fonda, New York, the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.. In 2007, Blessed Kateri was featured along with Blessed Junipero Serra, Saint Joseph, and Saint Francis of Assisi in the Grand Retablo, a newly installed work by Spanish artisans standing over forty feet high behind the main altar of the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano in Orange County, California. [Citenews | title=Retablo draws crowds at Mission Basilica |author=IGNATIN, HEATHER |url=http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/homepage/abox/article_1662425.php |publisher=Orange County Register |date=2007-04-19 |accessdate=2008-08-20] [ [http://www.missionsjc.com/pdf/press/Press2007Retablo.pdf Mission San Juan Capistrano: "Grand Retablo en Route to San Juan Capistrano, Installation expected March 19"] , Feb. 9, 2007]

The final step in the canonization process is awaiting a verified miracle. Blessed Kateri's feast day in the United States is celebrated on July 14. Kateri was for some time after her death considered an honorary (though unofficial) patroness of Montreal, Canada, and Native Americans. Fifty years after her death a Convent for Native American nuns was opened in Mexico, whose residents pray daily for her canonization.fact|date=August 2007

In literature

Kateri Tekakwitha figures prominently as a character in fiction by Leonard Cohen ("Beautiful Losers") and William Vollmann ("Fathers and Crows").

Nancy Shoemaker's article "Kateri Tekakwitha's Tortuous Path to Sainthood," from "Negotiators of Change: Historical Perspectives on Native American Women," links Tekakwitha's role with the history of women in North America.

Allan Greer's "Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits." Oxford University Press (New York: 2005).

Canonization Prayer

O God, who, amongst the many marvels of Thy Grace in the New World, didst cause to blossom on the banks of the Mohawk and of the St Lawrence, the pure and tender Lily, Kateri Tekakwitha, grant we beseech Thee, the favor we beg through her intercession, that this Young Lover of Jesus and of His Cross may soon be counted among the Saints of Holy Mother Church, and that our hearts may be enkindled with a stronger desire to imitate her innocence and faith. Through the same Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.

:"IMPRIMATUR:":Most Rev. Bernard Hubert, Bishop of Saint Jean de Québec:Most Rev. Howard J. Hubbard, Bishop of Albany, New York

See also

* [http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p4.htm#III "Consecrated Life" - Catechism of the Catholic Church]
*New Monasticism
*Catherine of Siena after whom Bl. Kateri took her name.


External links

* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=283 Canadian Dictionary of Biography Online: "Kateri Tekakwitha"]
* [http://www.kateritekakwitha.org/kateri/ Kateri Tekakwitha website]
* [http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintk01.htm Catholic Forum Patron Saint's Index: "Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha"]
* [http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=154 Saints & Angels Index: "Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha"]
* [http://www.katerishrine.com/ The (U.S.) National Kateri Shrine, in Fonda, New York]
* [http://www.lily-of-the-mohawks.com/k-life.htm Kateri's Life]
* [http://www.martyrshrine.org/ The (U.S.) National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, in Auriesville, New York]
* [http://conservation.catholic.org/kateri.htm Catholic Conservation Center's Page about Kateri Tekakwitha]
*web cite|title=Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha|url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14471a.htm|work=Catholic Encyclopedia

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