Tuesday, 20 December 2011

St Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks and first native North American saint

The Holy Father signed decrees on 19 December 2011 acknowledging miracles attributed to the intervention of seven beati (four women and three men) who will shortly be canonised. One of the new saints is Kateri Tekakwitha, the first native North American to be raised
to the glory of the altars.

St Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in Ossernenon (present-day Auriesville, USA).

Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother a Roman Catholic Algonquin who had been educated by French missionaries.

At the age of four she lost her family in a smallpox epidemic which also left her disfigured and with poor eyesight. Adopted by a relative, the chief of neighbouring clan, she continued to nurture an interest in Christianity and was baptised at the age of 20.

The members of her tribe did not understand her new religious affiliation and she was marginalised, practising physical mortification as a path of sanctity and praying for the conversion of her relatives.

Having suffered persecutions which put her life at risk, she was forced to flee to a native American Christian community in Kahnawake, Quebec where she made a vow of chastity and lived a life dedicated to prayer, penance, and care for the sick and elderly. She died in 1680 at the age of 24.

Her last words were: "Jesus, I love you".

According to tradition, Kateri's scars disappeared after her death to reveal a woman of great beauty, and numerous sick people who participated in her funeral were miraculously healed.

The process of canonisation began in 1884. She was declared venerable by Pius XII in 1943 and beatified by John Paul II in 1980. As the first native North American to be beatified she occupies a special place in the devotion of her people.

Her feast day falls on 14 July.

This is a marvellous testimony to the faith of many native Americans who retained their Catholic faith through persecution and oppression.

When the utterly false "manifest destiny" doctrine of Protestant white American racism overran the Spanish settlements in the West and seized the lands of the native Americans, many native Americans were treated appallingly, enslaved or shot. The Catholic native Americans were treated especially badly by the invading white Protestants who had but recently been rebels against their rightful king and set up a Freemasonic and Deist republic in place of a Christian monarchy.

They had a particular hatred of the Catholic religion which had always protected native peoples from exploitation by freebooters and exploiters.

Now the native Anericans have a saint of their very own - St Kateri Tekawitha, the Lily of the Mohawks.

St Kateri, pray for us!



Flambeaux said...

Not to distract from Bl. Kateri, but I though Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first native North American to be canonized (in 1975).

Mother Seton was of English stock but was born in North America before the Revolt.

Micha Elyi said...

Check your map. Mexico is also part of North America.

Tribunus said...

"Native North American" is a term used to describe "native American" who lived in North America.

"Native American" means a Red Indian.

St Elisabeth Ann Seton was not a Red Indian.


Tribunus said...

Micha, check your brain.

Mexico is in Central America NOT North America.

If you have nothing better to do than argue pointlessly, would you mind, please, doing it somehwere else?

Thank you.

Capreolus said...

Carissime Tribune!
A beautiful post-scriptum to the life of Bl. Kateri: it is said that within a generation of her death, the fervor of the Mohawks was such that the priests practically had to compel them to vacate the chapel, as the crops and other business of the village were suffering from neglect while the Indians were at their prayers for hours on end. (I believe this anecdote can be found in Fr. Talbot's life of St. Isaac Jogues.)

Flambeaux said...


I'm surprised to find you conceding so much ground to PC nonsense. Native American has only been synonymous with "red Indian" for about 25 or 30-odd years, at least here in the US.

A "native North American" is anyone, of whatever ethnic stock, born within the territory of N. America (which would include several of the North American martyrs).

While an argument could be made for referring to them as "North American natives" or "North American aborigines", most of the "red Indians" in this country still refer to themselves as Indians if they aren't specifying their specific tribe.

Tribunus said...

It's perfectly clear that those referring to St Kateri meant by "native North American" a Red Indian.

I can think of more important hairs to split that this one!

Fact is, Red skins had a rough deal from the Anglo-Protestant Americans (no wonder most sided with King George III!) and it is fitting that one of their number should now be raised to the honours of the altar.

MarylandBill said...

This is rather late on this blog, and it really is a nitpick, but accuracy does matter sometimes. Mexico is not part of Central America (Which generally is seen as beginning at Mexico's Southern Border). It doesn't really matter anyway, since geographically and geologically, Central America is part of North America as well.

Finally, I am rather disturbed by the lack of charity displayed in the response on a Catholic Blog.