Presentation on theme: "Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha 1656-1680 Lily of the Mohawks Youth Ministry Access, Center for Ministry Development, 2012."— Presentation transcript:
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Lily of the Mohawks Youth Ministry Access, Center for Ministry Development, 2012.
The Algonquin Indians Were the most populous and widespread North American Native groups with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds! They inhabited most of the Canadian region south of Hudson Bay.
During the 17 th century, there was an Algonquin Indian woman who was baptized Catholic by missionaries who visited her tribe. She was later captured by the Mohawk Indians during warfare and forced to hide her new Christian faith.
The young girl was captured by a Mohawk chief and soon became his bride. The Mohawks were the original people of New York. They were also known as the fiercest of the Five Nations of Iroquois Indians.
In 1656, a baby girl was born to an Algonquin woman and a Mohawk Chief.
The baby and her family lived in a village near Lake Ontario. Like others of their time, they lived in a traditional longhouse. Some longhouses were up to 200 feet long and housed several families.
It was not unusual in native culture to wait to name a baby until the child showed some distinguishing characteristics. Sadly, Kateri Tekakwithas parents would not have the opportunity to name their baby girl.
The Mohawk Indians were among the first natives who encountered the British and other Europeans who sailed to America to create a new life. Unfortunately, their numbers greatly decreased, because of the many diseases that these new settlers brought over from the Old World. Smallpox, measles and the flu were devastating to the Mohawks who had no immunity.
When Kateri was just four years old, small pox spread through her village and took the lives of her mother, father, and younger brother. She survived, but was left weaker, scarred and partially blind.
Orphaned at age 4, Kateri was adopted by her uncle, also a Mohawk chief of the Turtle Clan. He gave her the name Tekakwitha which translates to mean… One who clears her path with her hands or One who reaches out before she walks. She was probably named this due to the blindness that occurred from the smallpox.
Tekakwitha and her new family moved to Caughnawaga to build a new life after smallpox took most of their tribe.
It is said that Tekakwitha grew into a young woman with a sweet, shy personality. She helped her aunts work in the fields where they tended to the corn, beans, and squash, and took care of the traditional longhouse in which they lived. She went to the neighboring forest to pick the roots needed to prepare medicines and dye. She collected firewood in the forest and water from a stream. Despite her poor vision, she also became very skilled at beadwork.
In 1670 St Peters Mission was established in Caughnawaga
The native people called the Jesuit Missionaries the Black Robes
Tekakwitha often saw the Black Robes in her village. However, she was forbidden by her uncle to listen to or speak with them. He believed that the Black Robes were responsible for bringing disease and bad omens to his village.
In 1674, Father James de Lamberville came to the mission at Caughnawaga.
The young girl wanted to meet the Black Robes and learn about the Christian faith. Most likely, before she died, her mother had shared stories and sang songs from her Catholic faith with Tekakwitha.
She asked her uncle to please allow her to study with the missionaries. At first, Fr. Lamberville was concerned about the daughter of a chief converting to Catholicism, but her uncle finally agreed to allow Tekakwitha to become a Christian.
On Easter, April 5, 1676 twenty-year old Tekakwitha was baptized. She was given the name of Kateri, which is Mohawk for Catherine. Kateri was named in honor of St. Catherine of Siena.
Soon after her baptism, Kateri became the village outcast. Her family refused her food on Sundays because she wouldn't work. Children would taunt her and throw stones. She was threatened with torture or death if she did not renounce her new Christian religion.
Because of increasing hostility from her people and because she wanted to devote her life to God, Kateri left her village and fled more than 200 miles through woods, rivers, and swamps. Her journey to the Catholic Mission of St. Francis Xavier at Sault Saint-Louis took more than two months.
At the mission, Kateri Tekakwitha and other Native Americans were finally able to openly practice their Catholic faith.
Although not formally educated and unable to read and write, Kateri led a life of prayer and penitential practices. She taught the young and helped those in the village who were poor or sick.
Her favorite devotion was to fashion crosses out of sticks and place them throughout the woods. These crosses served as stations that reminded her to spend a moment in prayer.
On Christmas Day 1677, Kateri made her First Holy Communion.
On March 25, 1679 Kateri made a vow of perpetual virginity, meaning that she would remain unmarried and totally devoted to Christ for the rest of her life.
Ever since her battle with smallpox as a child, Kateris health was never very good. In 1680 she became fatally ill. She was only 24 years old when she died.
After she died, two priests witnessed the miracle of all the smallpox scars vanishing from her face. Her last words were Lesos Konoronkwa – Jesus, I love you.
1943 Pope Pius XII declared her Venerable.
300 years after her death, Pope John Paul II beatified her in Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be beatified by the Church.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II named Kateri Patroness of World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada.
In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree recognizing the miracle needed to canonize her. Blessed Kateri will be canonized on October 21, 2012.
Kateri Tekakwithas intercession is credited with healing a Washington State boy named Jake who had been infected with a flesh-eating bacteria. Jake's father is Native American and a member of the Lummi tribe. Jakes mother said his health greatly improved after a visit by a member of the Tekakwitha Conference. The woman, also named Kateri, brought a small coin with an image of Blessed Kateri and a prayer card to Jake.
Kateri will be the first Native American from the present-day continental United States to be declared a saint in the Catholic Church!