Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680)
She is the first Indian saint on the North American continent.
Born in 1656 in Oserninon (USA), she was the daughter of the leader of the Mohawhe and the Algonquin, a Catholic, sheriff and taught by the French missionaries. Smallpox deprived her of her family at the age of four, and she remained disfigured and handicapped from the consequences of the infection.
After she was adopted by the chief of a neighboring tribe, she strengthened her faith and was adopted by a missionary at the age of twenty. After being marginalized and threatened by her family, who did not understand her transformation, she escaped their persecution and founded a community of Christian Indians in Kahnawaki, living in prayer, penance, and caring for the sick.
She died in 1680, pleading with Jesus, after making a vow of chastity the previous year. Tradition says that her scars disappeared to make way for a beautiful face and that upon her burial, many sick people were healed. The file of her canonization was opened in 1884, and Pope Pius XII declared her venerable in 1943 and declared canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1980 .
She occupies a special place among Native American Catholics in Canada and the United States.
The feast of Cateri Tecaquita is set in the Canadian church calendar on April 17, the day of her death.
Prepared by Rita from the Lord’s Voice Team
Translated in english by Rim Zahka