Her rejection of several marriage offers and desire for a life of purity put her at odds with Mohawk life even before she became a Christian. Her baptism in 1676, and her first holy communion in 1677, led to persecution by some Aboriginal people, and a year later she left home for the Christian Aboriginal village at Kahnawake. There she became known for her sanctity and was given permission by the Jesuits in 1679 to make a private vow of perpetual chastity. Her death the next year from a prolonged illness was perhaps partly brought on by her penitential lifestyle, which included years of self-flagellation and privation. Her tomb and relics are preserved at the St Francis Xavier Mission shrine at Kahnawake, where numerous miracles have been reported and attributed to her since her death. A portrait of her was painted in 1681 by Jesuit Father Claude CHAUCHETIÈRE, who also wrote a biography of her.
Pope Pius XII declared Kateri Tekakwitha as venerable in 1943. On 22 June 1980, Pope John Paul II beatified Kateri after Vatican officials reviewed evidence describing her life of devotion and credited Tekakwitha with a miracle--curing a boy of flesh-eating disease.
On 19 December 2011, Pope Benedict XVI approved the miracle attributed to Kateri Tekakwitha's intercession and on 21 October 2012 Tekakwitha was canonized and became the first Canadian Aboriginal SAINT.
Author JOHN RASMUSSEN Revised: ANNE-MARIE PEDERSEN
Links to Other Sites
A biography of Kateri Tekakwitha. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha - Footprints
A profile of the revered Kateri Tekakwitha from the website for The Aboriginal Multi-Media Society.
Pope to declare Mohawk woman buried in Quebec a saint
A CTV News story about Pope Benedict designating Kateri Tekakwitha a saint.
Mohawk woman ascends to sainthood at Vatican
A CBC News story about Kateri Tekakwitha, named as North America's first aboriginal saint in a canonization ceremony conducted by Pope Benedict XVI.
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