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Kateri Tekakwitha Saint

October 23, 2012 by  

Kateri Tekakwitha Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha has been credited with life-saving miracles and was singled out for her life of devotion in the face of staunch opposition from her peers. In naming her a saint, the Pope noted in a Vatican City ceremony how unusual it was in Tekakwitha’s culture for her to dedicate herself to her Catholic faith.

“May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are,” said Benedict, who spoke in English and French in a nod to Tekakwitha’s Canadian heritage. “Saint Kateri, protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust you to the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America!” In Kahnawake, Odette Caputo, the mother who named her child after the new saint, said Tekak-witha’s devotion struck a chord with her and her husband.

“She has a real devotion to God,” said Caputo. “We wanted our daughter to have the same thing.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement that Tekak-witha never abandoned her faith. “The canonization of Saint Kateri is a great honour and joyous occasion for the many North Americans and Aboriginal peoples who cherish her witness of faith and strength of character,” Harper said.

Tekakwitha joins Juan Diego, an indigenous man who lived in what is now Mexico, as aboriginals from North America who have become saints. Diego was canonized by Pope John Paul in 2002.

Tekakwitha, who is also known as “Lily of the Mohawks,” was born in New York state in 1656 before fleeing to a settlement north of the border to escape opposition to her Christianity.

She died in 1680 at the age of 24. The process for her canonization began in the 1880s and Tekak-witha was eventually beatified by Pope John Paul in 1980. A steady stream of people have visited her shrine.

Her canonization was sealed by an event six years ago when prayers to her are credited with stopping the spread of a flesh-eating infection in a youngster belonging to the Lummi tribe in Washington.

On Sunday, aboriginal Canadians and Americans in traditional dress sang songs to Tek-akwitha as the sun rose over St. Peter’s Square.

They joined pilgrims from around the world at the mass and cheered when the Pope, in Latin, declared each of the seven new saints worthy of veneration by the church.

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