St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
What a sweet name…AND she was lucky enough to be canonized by St. Pope JP II!!
Also the first Native American Saint and was also very young role model for our youth.
She was a diligent worker and lived a life of chastity, even after enduring much suffering when her parents died from smallpox and she herself was left disfigured and half blind from the disease.
At 19 she converted to Catholicism…after the “Blackrobes” Jesuit Missionaries came to her area. As you can imagine this was not a popular decision for her to make. In addition, she refused to marry, which was an unprecedented decision for an Indian woman! To avoid persecution she fled to a Christian Native community. (200 miles away, and she walked!!)
Legend has it that she was very devout and would put thorns on her sleeping mat, fasted, and when she would eat she would taint her food so it had little flavor. These self-sacrifices were common in her Mohawk tribe, however she began to use these as sacrifices for her Catholic faith and to pray for the conversion of the Mohawk tribe.
She became ill and passed at the young age of 24. She died the afternoon before Holy Thursday. However a beautiful thing happened…witnesses claim that her disfigured face changed color, her pockmarks disappeared and her face became like that of a healthy child with a smile.
If her story doesn’t make you rethink your Lenten sacrifice, I don’t know what will!! Thorns in your bed?? This girl was tough, and a trailblazer for North America. It is amazing how she came to have such a strong faith in a religion was probably very foreign to her. Yet, something powerful enough stirred in her soul to take that leap of faith.
I pray that I can have such courage, especially during this Lent.
Kateri is available in my shop to hopefully inspire young Catholics out there!