FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s Story
This week we celebrate the Memorial of St Kateri Tekakwitha, a Native American saint, canonized in 2012. St. Kateri was born in 1656, just 9 years after the martyrdom of Isaac Jogues and John de Lelande, and is known as the Lily of the Mohawks. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin Indian, taken as a captive and given to the chief of the Mohawk tribe. At the age of 4 she lost both parents and a brother to small pox, and was herself disfigured and left half blind.
She was adopted by her uncle, who succeeded her father as chief of the Mohawk tribe. Her uncle hated the Jesuits, but could do nothing because of a peace treaty with the French at the time. Kateri finally took instruction in the faith at the age of 19, and converted on Easter Sunday. Because of her conversion, she was treated as a slave. She refused to work on Sundays, and was given no food these days. She told a missionary that she often meditated on the great dignity of being baptized, and was powerfully moved by God’s love for human beings and saw the dignity of each of her people.
She was always in danger, for her conversion and holy life created great opposition. On the advice of a priest, Kateri stole away one night and began a 200-mile walking journey to a Christian Indian village at Sault St. Louis, near Montreal. For three years she grew in holiness under the direction of a priest and an older Iroquois woman, giving herself totally to God in long hours of prayer, in charity, and in strenuous penance. At 23, Kateri took a vow of virginity, an unprecedented act for an Indian woman whose future depended on being married. She found a place in the woods where she could pray an hour a day--and was accused of meeting a man there!
Her dedication to virginity was instinctive: Kateri did not know about religious life for women until she visited Montreal. Inspired by this, she and two friends wanted to start a community, but the local priest dissuaded her. She humbly accepted an “ordinary” life. She practiced extremely severe fasting as penance for the conversion of her nation. Kateri died the afternoon before Holy Thursday. Witnesses said that her emaciated face changed color and became like that of a healthy child. The lines of suffering, even the pockmarks, disappeared and the touch of a smile came upon her lips. She was beatified in 1980 and canonized in 2012.
St. Kateri is a great intercessor for us during these days of turmoil and ethnic unrest in our nation. As we celebrate her memorial feast day this Tuesday (July 14) we seek her prayers for healing within each of us as individuals and in our nation.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha....... pray for us
St. Jose Maria Escriva.....pray for us
St. Terese of Lisieux...... pray for us
CATHOLIC QUOTES FOR THE WEEK
“There is an infinite treasure of knowledge available to us: the Word of God kept safe by the Church, the grace of Christ administered in the sacraments and also the witness and example of those who live by our side and have known how to build with their good lives a road of faithfulness to God.” (St. Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, 34).
“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart... The guest of our soul knows our misery; He comes to find an empty tent within us – that is all He asks.” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux--of the Child Jesus--Virgin and Doctor of the Church)