Kateri Tekakwitha

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha holds a cross in the oldest known portrait of her painted about 16 years after her death in 1680. It was painted by Jesuit Father Claude Chauchetiere, who personally knew Blessed Kateri. (CNS photo/courtesy of the Cause of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha)

1656-1680

Feast Date: July 14

At her canonization in 2012, Pope Benedict XVI prayed, “St. Kateri, protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the First Nations and in all of North America!” The daughter of a Mohawk chief and Algonquin woman, Kateri was orphaned in a smallpox epidemic that left her partly blind and disfigured. She was baptized by a French missionary visiting her village in New York state. But, her faith and refusal to marry caused trouble, and she fled to an Indian community near Montreal, where she was revered by French and Indians alike for her mystical gifts and kindness. The “Lily of the Mohawk” is the patron of Native Americans, refugees and the disabled.

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