Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Lily of the Mohawks

"I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus."
~Blessed Kateri Tekawitha

Blessed Kateri Tekawitha was born in 1656 near what is now Auriesville, NY. A Mohawk, her parents died from smallpox when she was very young. Raised by her tribe, smallpox also had a damaging effect on Kateri as well, leaving her eyesight impaired and her face scarred from her own struggle with the disease. 

When Kateri was a young adult, Jesuit missionaries visited her village and inspired her to be baptized and received into the Catholic faith; she was 18 years old. The Jesuit missionaries, among the first of the North American Martyrs, were later killed. Shortly after, Kateri was also driven away by her own tribe. Two years later she died in 1980, but not before giving herself completely to Christ in holy virginity. She was 24 years old.

Shortly after her death, her smallpox scars miraculously disappeared. Fr. Pierre Cholenec, who administered her last rights, said, “This face, so marked and swarthy, suddenly changed about a quarter of an hour after her death, and became in a moment so beautiful and so white that I observed it immediately”. Pope Pius XII declared it as an authentic miracle in 1943. Many pilgrims at her funeral were also healed. Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha also appeared to at least two different individuals in the weeks following her death. In 1980 she was beatified by Bl. John Paul II and later this year she will be canonized on Oct. 21st. Known by many as the "Lily of the Mohawks" she will be the first Native American saint.

*Most information taken from

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