Written by Sherry
Thursday, 17 April 2008 17:31
The canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was submitted to the Vatican today - on her feast day.
Monsignor Paul Lenz has informed CNA that on Thursday, he will submit the Cause for the Canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha to the Vatican. Tomorrow, April 17, is the feast day of the Native American blessed.
Bl. Kateri has been accorded the title of the patroness of the environment and ecology and is dear to the hearts of many Native Americans. She was born in upstate New York, near Auriesville. Both of her parents were Native Americans. Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother an Algonquin, who was raised Catholic.
In her lifetime Kateri was frequently afflicted with illness and became partially blind. In order for her to walk, she groped her way around as she walked. She was then named, Tekakwitha which literally means, “One who walks groping for her way.”
Bl. Kateri was baptized when she was 20 years old after being catechized by Father de Lambertville S.J. After her baptism, Kateri was considered an outcast by her tribal community. Living on her own, she professed a vow of perpetual virginity. Poor health and the effects of small pox led to her death in 1680 at the age of 24.
In 1943 Kateri was declared venerable and then in 1980 she was declared blessed by Pope John Paul II. She is the first Native American to be declared blessed and was the patroness of the 2002 World Youth Day.
Go to Lily-of-the-Mohawks.com for more on her life, her travels, her cause, and her tomb.
Kateri's story is remarkable and one we try to tell at every Called & Gifted workshop. But the whole tale of the zealous Catholic Native Americans of the 17th century, especially the Hurons, many of whom paid with their lives for their faith, is not known to most of us - but deserves to be.
It is encouraging that we are starting to sing the "Huron Carol" - the first Christmas Carol written in this country.