Thursday 14 July 2011
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
(Thursday of week 15 of the year)
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – 1680)
Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks” and the “Geneviève of New France,” she was born in the Mohawk fortress of Ossemenon in what is now New York State, the daugher of a Mohawk warrior and a Catholic Algonquin woman whom he had saved from captivity at the hands of the Iroquois. When she was about four, smallpox killed her parents and her brother and left her scarred and with impaired eyesight. She was adopted by her uncle, the chief of the Turtle clan, and had many offers of marriage. She received some knowledge of Christianity from Jesuit missionaries when she was 11, and she determined to live the life not only of a Christian but of a Christian virgin: a heroic determination at the time. She was baptized when she was 20 and eventually, to escape persecution and death threats, she fled to an established Christian community at Kahnawake in what is now Québec. She advanced in union with God, with bodily mortification and intense prayer, and died at the age of 24. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 June 1980.