Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

On July 30, 2008, the day before the Dedication of the Shrine Church, then-Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke dedicated a bronze statue of then-Blessed Kateri Tekakwtha, which is situated in a devotional area along the Meditation Trail. The statue of Saint Kateri, kneeling with her gaze fixed upon a cross, was a gift from local Native American Catholics.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was born in New York state in 1651, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior. She was four years old when her father, mother and brother died of smallpox. She was also infected by the disease, which left partially blinded and resulted in unsightly scars on her face.  Saint Kateri was eventually adopted by two aunts and an uncle. She converted to Catholicism as a teenager and was then baptized at the age of twenty. Saint Kateri eventually moved to a colony of Christian Indians in Canada. There she lived a life of prayer, penitential practices and cared for the sick and aged. She was devoted to the Eucharist and to the Crucified Lord.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha died on 7 April 1680 at the age of twenty-four. She was declared venerable by the Catholic Church in 1943 and beatified in 1980. She is the first Native American to be declared a Blessed and a Saint.  Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks”, she was canonized 21 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. Her feast day is July 14.

For more information, CLICK HERE to view the article that appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of Tepeyac.

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