Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, The Lily of the Mohawks

Only known portrait from life of Catherine Tekakwitha,
circa 1690, by Father Chauchetière
 
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680), is a Roman Catholic saint who was an Algonquin–Mohawk virgin and laywoman. Born in Auriesville (now part of New York), she suffered from smallpox as a young child, which scarred her face and greatly weakened her eyes. She converted to Roman Catholicism at age nineteen and was renamed Kateri. She settled for the remaining years of her life at the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal in New France, now Canada.

Tekakwitha took a devout vow of perpetual virginity. She was baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena. Upon her death at the age of 24, minutes after her death, witnesses say her scars vanished and she appeared radiant and beautiful. Known for her virtue of chastity and mortification of the flesh, as well as being shunned by her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism, she is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, and the first to be canonized.

Lord God, You called the virgin Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, to shine among the American Indian people as an example of innocence of life. Through her intercession, may all peoples of every tribe, tongue and nation, having been gathered into Your Church, proclaim your greatness in one song of praise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
 

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