Saturday, July 14, 2018

Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Today, July 14th, is the Feast of St. Kateri "Lily of the Mohawks". Last summer our family was able to visit the National Shrine of St. Kateri. We visited her village and also went to the stream where she was baptized. We have a small container of the water from this same stream. We prayed a Rosary during our visit at the National Shrine including in our intentions all the members of the Children's Rosary and all who help the Children's Rosary.

It is interesting how the saints can become our friends. The more we learn about them and ask for the help the more it seems we are reminded of them through other people. Recently, we became friends with a priest who has started a hermitage named after St. Tekakwitha. 

We consider St. Kateri a dear friend of the Children's Rosary and continue to ask for her help and intercession. Today we brought a little third class relic of St. Kateri to our Children's Rosary at St. Peter Claver in West Hartford, Connecticut. We put the little relic before the children as they prayed. We prayed in a special way for all the members of the Children's Rosary and all who help the Children's Rosary.

For those who do not know this humble saint who died at the young age of 24 a brief biography is provided below. We hope to introduce her to others, especially children as she is a beautiful witness of love and faith despite extremely difficult situations. The miracle that helped her progress in the path to sainthood involved a child who had a flesh eating infection of his face. As Saint Kateri had terrible scars on her face from small pox she would have understood in a deeply personal way the affliction of a disease affecting the skin of one's face.

Kateri was born in 1656 in a town near Auriesville New York.  She was the daughter of a Mohawk warrior and a Christian Algonquin mother.  Both of her parents died when she was 4. Her life in many ways reflects that of St. Teresa the Little Flower who also lost her mother at the age of 4 and like Kateri died at the age of 24.  Kateri’s parents both died of small pox. Kateri also contracted the disease but survived but her face was left disfigured. She was often seen with a blanket over her head to hide her face.

Kateri was baptized as a teenager and was rejected by her tribe.  She courageously left her home and moved to a region near Montreal, Canada. Kateri remained devoted to both the Eucharist and Christ Crucified.  She would wait outside the chapel at 4 in the morning despite bitter cold and stayed until after the last Mass.  She was committed to the care of the sick and aged.  She also took a vow of virginity at the age of 23 an unprecedented act for an Indian women.  
Kateri was the first Native American to be Beatified.  Pope John Paul II Beatified her in 1980 and on Oct 21st 2012 she was canonized by Pope Benedict the XVI.

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