Painting of Kateri Tekakwitha by Father Chauchetière between 1682-1693. Public domain
On Monday, December 19, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI met with the Salesian Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation in the Roman Curia charged with the promotion of causes of sainthood.
The Holy Father agreed with the congregation that the Native Canadian woman, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, was worthy of promotion to the ranks of the saints, because of her life of exemplary devotion and sacrifice and because this fact has been reinforced by the miracles of healing that have been effected through her direct intercession.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha has been venerated for a long time, in fact, since her death near Montréal in 1680 at the age of 24.
Many First Nations people already have an intense devotion to Kateri, as their patron and example, and several chapels, churches, schools and shrines have been dedicated to her memory. Her canonization, which may be scheduled for the Easter season of 2012, or some more opportune date, will be a source of joy for First Nations people. It will be a realization of the grace and holiness possessed by many of our native Canadians, and their steadfastness in the faith in spite of numerous tribulations.
Painting of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha by Sister Dorothy Grills, C.S.J.
Kateri is one of their own. She is also one of us, who struggle in the faith despite contrary pressures from the outside world. Kateri is also a sign that Christ remains with us, and can bring peace to our unsettled communities if we let him enter our individual hearts.
Blessed Kateri is called “Lily of the Mohawks,” as a tribute to her purity and mark of the pride of her belonging to all Native Canadians and Americans.
Reprinted from Catholic Missions In Canada Magazine, Spring 2012.