Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
As part of the week long celebration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, then-Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke dedicated a bronze statue of then-Blessed Kateri Tekakwtha along the Meditation Trail from the Pilgrim Center to the Shrine Church. 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. On 19 December 2011, Pope Benedict XVI approved the miracle needed for then-Blessed Kateri’s canonization. She was canonized 21 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. Her feast day is July 14.