This Thursday is the Feast of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. The short biography which follows comes from the beautiful, little homemade book, Vignettes on the Life of Kateri Tekakwitha ~ Lily of the Mohawks ~ 1991 by Sarah Hassenplug. I have seen a litany composed in her honor, but the language used in the prayer is so overly spiritual and elevated, the lovely saint is taken off the ground, and we are no longer able to identify her as one of us. So I have composed my own.
In 1656, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in a village called Ossernenon that was located on the South bank of the Mohawk River, about 40 miles west of Albany, New York. Her father was one of the Nine Chiefs of the Mohawk Tribe and he was a non-Christian. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin Maiden who was raised among the French near Three Rivers, Canada.
When she was four years old Tekakwitha lost her parents and baby brother in the smallpox epidemic of 1660. There is no record of the names of her parents, little brother, or her aunts and uncles. Neither was her adopted sister's named recorded.
Tekakwitha survived the smallpox epidemic but the disease left her weak fro the rest of her life. Her eyesight was impaired and her face was scarred with ugly pock marks.
Kateri, Child of God
Kateri, whose gaze is God's Kingdom
Kateri, repentant heart
Kateri, pleased to sing hymns
Kateri, praying, Jesus, I love you!
Kateri, who wore a path to church
Kateri, in your gift of prayer
Kateri, in innocence likened to angels
Kateri, of cheerful face
Kateri, gentle and inviting
Kateri, peaceful in trials
Kateri, growing in goodness
Kateri, in your forest solitude
Kateri, love for Jesus crucified
Kateri, patient in humility
Kateri, content in poverty
Kateri, helping us from heaven
Kateri, joyful in the Eucharist
Kateri, detached for love of Jesus
Kateri, surrendered to God's purposes
Kateri, without complaint
Kateri, in the abuse of your people
Kateri, a lily flowering on your grave
Father Stephen P. Morris