Kateri Tekakwitha [tek”äkwith’u]
1656 – April 17, 1680
“Born in 1656 of an Algonquin Indian mother who was a devout Christian, and a pagan Mohawk chief. Kateri Tekakwitha was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II. Despite common understanding, Tekakwitha’s people were of a matrilineal tradition. Therefore, she belonged to the Algonquin nation.
Both her parents and her brother died in a small pox plague and though Kateri survived her illness, it left her permanently weak and with scars and poor eyesight.
Kateri expressed interest in Catholisism, and was baptized around seven by a Jesuit missionary, following the faith of her mother. However, as she was brought up in the non-Christian surroundings of the Mohawk community in Ossernenon, in what is now Auriesville, NY, She reportedly was subject to harassment and stoning. She eventually went to a missionary settlement in Canada, where she was a strict ascetic. In the unique understanding of time that is the Catholic Church, movement for her beatification began in the 1930s.
She is reportedly in the final step of canonization:
The final step in the canonization process is awaiting a verified miracle. Blessed Kateri’s feast day in the United States is celebrated on July 14. Kateri was for some time after her death considered an honorary (though unofficial) patroness of Montreal, Canada, and Native Americans. Fifty years after her death a Convent for Native American nuns was opened in Mexico, whose residents pray daily for her canonization.
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