Monday, February 20, 2012

2 new American Saints - Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, informally known as Lily of the Mohawks was born in 1656 of a Mohawk chief father, and a Roman Catholic Algonquin mother. Tekakwitha was born in the Mohawk community of Ossernenon near present-day Auriesville, New York. When Tekakwitha was four, she contracted smallpox and she was left with poor eyesight, and unsightly scars on her face. This disease outbreak took the lives of her brother and both her parents. She was then adopted by her uncle, and as the adopted daughter of the chief, many young men sought her hand in marriage, in spite of her disfigured face. She realized that this was only for political purposes and was disgusted by the idea of a loveless marriage. During this time she took an interest in the Roman Catholic faith. Her clan then settled on the north side of the Mohawk River, near what is now Fonda, New York. 

While living here, at the age of 20, Tekakwitha was baptized on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1676. In 1679 Kateri took her vows as a nun and lived a life dedicated to prayer, penance, and care for the sick and aged. A year later, on April 17, 1680, Tekakwitha died at the age of 24. Her last words are said to have been ‘Jesus, I love You!’  Tekakwitha was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1980. Both Blessed Marianne and Blessed Kateri will be canonized on October 21, 2012 at St Peter’s Basilica, Rome.

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