Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha or Lily of the Mohawks was born in 1656 in a village called Ossernenon, which is now Auriesville, NY. When she was four years old, a smallpox epidemic took the lives of her younger brother, her father a Mohawk Chief and her mother a Christian Algonquin. Young Tekakwitha survived the disease but it left her weak with poor eyesight, and scaring on her face. This first image above is the oldest portrait of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, painted by Father Chauchetiere some years after her death.
Moving with relatives to the turtle clan village of Cahghnawaga, she began a new life. Her first contact with a priest came in 1667 when three Fathers visited her village. St. Peter's Mission chapel was built inside of one of the longhouses and in 1674 Fr. James de Lamberville took charge of the mission.
During a visit to her home, Tekakwitha told the priest of her desire to become baptized and on Easter Sunday when she was 20 years old, she was baptized and given the name Kateri or Katherine. She is usually depicted with a simply made wooden cross as her favorite devotion was to fashion them out of sticks and place them throughout the woods. These crosses served as stations that reminded her to spend a moment in prayer.

Kateri's family did not accept her choice to embrace Christianity. After her baptism, Kateri became like an outcast in her village. Her family refused her food on Sundays because she wouldn't work and children would tease her and throw stones. She was threatened with torture or death if she did not renounce her religion. In the summer of 1677, Kateri fled her village to go and live at Sault St. Louis, St. Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal. This difficult 200 mile journey took two months through woods, rivers and swamps but she did arrive at the Sault with the help of friends. Her life was devoted to teaching prayers to the children and helping the sick and aged until she was struck herself with an illness that would claim her life.

On April 17th,1680 at the age of 24 she spoke her last words: "Iesos konoronkwa", or "Jesus, I love you." Shortly after her death and before the eyes of two Jesuit priests and all the Indians that could fit in the room, the scars that marred her face for twenty years suddenly disapeared.

On January 3, 1943, she was declared Venerable by Pope Pius XII.
She was Beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 22, 1980.


The Blessed Kateri continues to spread her devotion and faith hundreds of years after her death. Artists continue to be inspired to carve her likeness in wood or stone, painted on canvas, or cast in bronze. Prayers are recited daily for her canonization.

Local areas I have visited learning about Kateri Tekakwitha:
St. Francis Solanus church
Cross in the Woods

3 Comments:

Anonymous Cathy said...

Topic very well researched and informative. Kateri Tekakwitha should be an inspiration for all of us. What does it take to become a saint?

Tue Sep 12, 04:54:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Albinocrow said...

"Under current rules, proof of two miracles is required for sainthood -- instantaneous cures of incurable afflictions, supported by medical data. They must occur before beatification and after. A panel of doctors in Rome reviews the reports so they must be convincing.
In Kateri's case, the Pope waived the miracle requirement before beatification..."
taken from- Albany Times Union - 6/14/2004- Carol DeMare

Tue Sep 12, 05:18:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Cuervo Loco said...

A few weeks ago I was at the local graveyard "hangin-out" with a few of my little black-feathered friends that gathered to join the ones that were there before I came in "cawing".

I have a remarkably effective "crow-call" that took me a little more than a year to develop to the point that I can do it for up to an hour before it kills my voice for days afterward.

Anyway, that particular day was one that I'll not soon forget as I watched HUNDREDS of crows fly into an area where I was "cawing" out to them. They flew in and landed all around me. Some on the tops of the gravestones and monuments; others perched up in the trees and at the tops of the church bell tower, while others frolicked on the grass.

They stayed there with me for nearly an hour, many cawing back and forth with me, some flying around checking me out, some playing around with each other, and many just sitting around perched at various spots listening as I would speak to them with music I was playing for them from my car.

It was a unique and absolutely astounding experience to watch these hundreds of crows come flying in from all directions in direct response to my crow-calls, landing and settling down where I was located (actually flying, frolicking, and walking around on the grass, etc,), and then remain there for almost an hour, interacting with me the whole time before the majority finally decides to move on.

It was an absolutely amazing experience to me, as well as to some others who were there to witness this spectacular mass gathering of these intelligent black birds who's numerous wings literally filled the sky as they responded to my bird-calls, flying in from all directions while remaining for nearly an hour "cawing" back and forth with me before they left.

It was a fantastic sight to see!

Cuervo Loco

Sun Oct 08, 11:17:00 PM 2006  

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