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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kateri Tekakwitha destined to become the first American Indian saint

Above Holy Card by Margaret Mary Nealis, R.S.C.J. 
The Holy Card above is a lithograph copy of Mother Nealis' original work titled "Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha".  The original was painted in 1927 (oil on canvas 15"x18") and it shows the image of young Kateri Tekakwitha (Gah-deh-lee Deh-gah-quee-tah) standing before a cross. She is dressed in traditional Native American long dress made of deerskin with a long blouse and a blue blanket over her shoulders. At the bottom right corner of the holy card are the artist's initials, "M.M.N., R.S.C.J. Printed on the reverse is a prayer. 

On the back of the holy card the following prayer: 

"Oh God, who among the many marvels of Your Grace in the New World, did cause to blossom on the banks of the Mohawk and of the St. Lawrence, the pure and tender Lily, Kateri Tekakwitha, grant, we beseech You, the favor we beg through her intercession -- that this Young Lover of Jesus and of His Cross may soon be counted among her Saints by Holy Mother Church, and that our hearts may be enkindled with a stronger desire to imitate her innocence and faith. Through the same Christ Our Lord.  Amen."

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha as seen in the
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
 in Washington, DC
- photo credit, Sr. Mary Schumacher, RSCJ

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born near the town of Auriesville, New York in the year 1656, the daugther of a Mohawk warrior.  At the age of four her mother died of smallpox and Kateri contracted the disease which caused permanent scaring on her face.  Adopted by relatives she later converted amongst a great deal of hostility by those in her tribe.  She was baptized on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1676 and died on Wednesday of Holy Week, April 17, 1680.  She was beatified on June 22, 1980.  On December 19, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI declared that a medical intervention is to be attributed to Kateri Tekakwitha and she is expected to be canonized a saint sometime in 2012.

Canada celebrates her holy day on April 17 and in the United States it is celebrated on July 14

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