By birth, she was half Algonquin and half Mohawk Iroquois. By places of residence, she was French Canadian, a member of the UK colony of New York, and a member of the Iroquois Confederacy of Six Nations. Her parents died young, but she never forgot her mother’s Christian teachings. Her status in life fluctuated wildly, from being practically a slave to practically a chief’s adopted daughter when she unexpectedly became a good marriage prospect. But when she seemed to be gaining acceptance for the first time since her parents died, she ran off on a long journey to join other Christians, her prospects totally unknown.
By the favor of Jesus Christ and her obedience in following his call, she is now to be pointed out to us as a saint. A gentle, extremely nearsighted saint with health problems, who constantly turned the other cheek, but fought like a warrior to do penance for her own sins and for those of all people. Since her death, since the moment when her face turned miraculously radiant and her smallpox scars disappeared, the Church’s earthly members have suspected that she has been standing before the Throne of God, with the One she loved.
So it’s very interesting that, after so many years, God has finally granted her the miracles needed to prove her status to us on earth. It’s almost as if our countries need her now, and especially her example of patience and penitent offering of herself.
After this Sunday, then, be ready to say, “Pray for us, St. Kateri Tekakwitha!”
(Pronounced either whatever way you feel like, or Gadelli DeGAHgweedah. Kateri was the local version of “Catherine,” and was her baptismal name. Tekakwitha was her given name.)
UPDATE: A Canadian story about the canonization, featuring a spectacular (but kinda fantasy-influenced) new painting of her. It’s got daylilies in it, though, so I’m in favor of that. The artist has a website with some nice Sherlock Holmes paintings, so I’m willing to be convinced. However, that whole “Other Works” page opens with a very naked nude, so it’s not work-safe!
Our Lady of Guadelupe’s, in Cherokee country, and its devotion to Kateri.
Blessed Kateri’s in Maine will soon become. St. Kateri’s Church! Also, a new shrine is set up to St. Kateri on nearby Indian Island.
The keeper of St. Kateri’s tomb and the strange fates of her bones.
Another interesting thing that shows up is that a lot of people still hate her choices! (Boy, nobody does edgy protests against societal expectations like a saint.) But she is also an attractive figure to many people who otherwise have grudges against the Church, religion, etc.
Anyway, today’s the Feast of the North American Martyrs, ie, the Jesuit “Blackrobes” who died for the faith in Canada and New York State. Some of them were neighbors of Kateri, albeit 40 or so years before her time.