Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (Feast Day: July 14) is the first Native American Saint to be recognized by the Catholic Church. In 1656, she was born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, in what is now modern day Auriesville, New York. As a child, she was permanently disfigured and lost her entire family as the result of a smallpox outbreak. She was known for her extreme devotion to Catholicism after converting at age 19. Throughout her life, she practiced physical mortifications as a form of devotion. She died at age 24. She is the Patron Saint of ecology and the environment, people in exile, and Native Americans.
I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus. He must be my only love. The state of helpless poverty that may befall me if I do not marry does not frighten me. All I need is a little food and a few pieces of clothing. With the work of my hands I shall always earn what is necessary and what is left over I’ll give to my relatives and to the poor. If I should become sick and unable to work, then I shall be like the Lord on the cross. He will have mercy on me and help me, I am sure. — Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Questions for Reflection:
- In what way could you increase your devotion to Jesus Christ?
- St. Kateri Tekakwitha was originally named “Tekakwitha” and was later baptized “Kateri” after St. Catherine of Siena. If you could rename yourself after a saint, which Saint would you pick, and why?