Patron Saint of North America’s New Evangelization: St. Kateri Tekakwitha!

Today, not only did the Pope infallibly canonize six saints, and not only did he bring back the papal fanon to emphasize it…

He named St. Kateri Tekakwitha the patron saint of the new evangelization in North America!!!! AND co-patron saint of Canada!!!!

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us!!!

“Kateri Tekakwitha was born in today’s New York state in 1656 to a Mohawk father and a Christian Algonquin mother who gave to her a sense of the living God. She was baptized at twenty years of age and, to escape persecution, she took refuge in Saint Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal. There she worked, faithful to the traditions of her people though renouncing their religious convictions, until her death at the age of twenty-four. Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer and to daily Mass. Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God. She lived a life radiant with faith and purity.

Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help, and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are. Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the First Nations and in all of North America! May God bless the First Nations!”

In case you’re wondering if it’s unusual for the popes to appoint a patronage for a new saint? To entrust a whole continent to one’s care?

YES! IT’S FREAKY UNUSUAL!

Our Lady of Guadalupe is of course the Patroness of North America as a whole, but this puts St. Kateri T. practically right under Our Lady in our patron lists. She joins her nearly-neighbor, St. Jean de Brebeuf, and St. Anne (Mary’s mom) as the third patron saint of Canada, and takes on the never-before assigned patronage of praying for the re-evangelization of North America.

IT’S A BIG DEAL!!!

Also, we see the Pope referring to the Canadian usage of “First Nations” for Canadian tribes. In an interesting linguistic note, the Pope read the first paragraph in English and the second in French. The preferred Algonquin pronunciation was used both by the Pope and by the Italian announcer. (Actually, the announcer said “Caterina” and then pronounced “Tekawitha” the Algonquin way. Which is actually easier for an Italian-speaker.) It seems pretty clear that we’re going with “Native American” as not including Mexican Native Americans… oh, well. Probably Mexican people won’t care; they’ve got theirs with St. Juan Diego.

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