* As an Amazon affiliate, this site earns from qualifying purchases.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha was the first Native American saint to be canonized.

Family Influence and Spiritual Guidance

St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s family played a significant role in shaping her life and spiritual journey. She was born to a Mohawk father and an Algonquin mother. When she was about 4 years old, a smallpox outbreak in her village took the lives of her parents and scarred her face and eyes. The loss of her parents left a deep void in her heart, but it also ignited within her a desire to seek meaning and solace in her faith. She was adopted by her uncle.

While her family’s absence left a profound impact on her, Kateri’s spiritual family, including the Jesuit missionaries who introduced her to Catholicism, became instrumental in guiding her towards God and inspiring her unwavering devotion. Kateri was baptized as a teenager. Through the support of her spiritual family, St. Kateri found solace, strength, and the love of God, which ultimately transformed her life and led her on the path to sainthood.

Strained Relationships

One of the most significant sources of tension in St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s life was her strained relationship with her uncle, who vehemently opposed her conversion to Christianity. Kateri’s uncle, a tribal leader, held firm to the traditional Mohawk beliefs and saw her newfound faith as a betrayal of their cultural heritage. This clash of religious beliefs created a deep divide between them, leading to ongoing conflicts and animosity.

Kateri’s uncle, along with other tribal members, resisted her attempts to practice her faith, often subjecting her to ridicule and ostracism. He and others within the tribe sought to undermine her dedication to Catholicism, viewing it as a threat to their way of life. Their opposition only fueled Kateri’s determination to remain faithful to Christ and live out her Christian values.

Radical Discipleship

St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s decision to refuse marriage and consecrate herself to Jesus Christ was a defining moment in her life. Despite the cultural expectations and pressures placed upon her to marry and conform to tribal traditions, Kateri chose a path of radical discipleship. This decision was met with resistance from her relatives and tribal leaders, who found it difficult to comprehend her commitment to a foreign faith. Despite facing hostility and numerous obstacles, Kateri remained steadfast in her devotion to Christ, refusing to compromise her beliefs.

In search of a more supportive environment, she made a courageous move to a different village, located around 200 miles away, where she could live among a Native American Christian community. This relocation allowed her to find solace, spiritual companionship, and the freedom to practice her faith more openly. Kateri’s unwavering commitment to her relationship with Jesus serves as an inspiring example of fidelity and perseverance in the face of opposition, encouraging us to stay true to our faith no matter the challenges we encounter.

Devotion to the Cross

St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s life was marked by profound devotion to the Cross of Christ. She found solace and strength in the redemptive love of Jesus, embracing the suffering and sacrifice associated with the Cross. Kateri understood the transformative power of uniting her own sufferings with Christ’s. Her unwavering faith and perseverance in the face of trials became an inspiration for others. Despite enduring physical and emotional pain, she found deep meaning in contemplating the Crucifixion.

Kateri teaches us to embrace our own crosses, trusting in Christ’s redemptive grace. Her devotion to the Cross reminds us of its central role in the Christian life. Through her example, we are encouraged to find solace, strength, and hope in the Cross, knowing that it is through our union with Christ’s suffering that we experience true joy and eternal life.

She died in 1680 at the age of 24. She is called “The Lily of the Mohawks”.

St. Kateri adds the grace of Native American cultures to our company of saints. These cultures have shown us how to live in harmony with God’s creation. For this reason, St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s patronages include ecology and the environment.

Her feast day is July 14.

Patron Saint of …

She is the patron saint of ecology, environmentalism, those who have lost their parents, people in exile, and Native Americans.

Daily Mass Readings for the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin

The readings for the memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha may be taken from the Mass of the Day or the Common of Virgins.

Quote and Social Media Graphics

"ho will teach me what is most pleasing to God, that I may do it?" - St. Kateri Tekawitha
Who will teach me what is most pleasing to God, that I may do it?
St Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Activity

The American Saints Activity series helps families learn more about American saints in hopes that they will look to them as role models. One of the offerings in the series is based on the life of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

To earn the patch, youth and adults must learn about the life of St. Kateri. Then they participate in their choice of activities based on what they have learned. For St. Kateri, the activities include drawing a picture, writing a prayer about nature, and visiting a children’s hospital or senior citizen’s home. Read more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What date Is the Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha?

It is observed annually on July 14.

What are the Mass readings for the Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha?

The readings for the memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha may be taken from the Mass of the Day or the Common of Virgins.

Who was St. Kateri Tekakwitha?

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, also known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” was the first Native American saint to be canonized by the Catholic Church. She was born in the 17th century to a Mohawk father and an Algonquin mother and is known for her unwavering faith, profound devotion to Christ, and her courageous witness in the face of opposition.

Who is St. Kateri Tekakwitha the patron saint of?

She is the patron saint of ecology, environmentalism, those who have lost their parents, people in exile, and Native Americans.

What challenges did St. Kateri face in her life?

St. Kateri faced numerous challenges in her life, including the loss of her parents at a young age due to a smallpox outbreak, physical ailments that left her partially blind and scarred, and opposition from her relatives and tribe members due to her conversion to Christianity. Despite these obstacles, she remained steadfast in her faith and continued to pursue a life of holiness.

How did St. Kateri persevere in the face of opposition?

St. Kateri’s perseverance stemmed from her deep love for Christ and her unwavering commitment to following His teachings. Despite facing resistance and hostility from her tribe, she remained faithful to her beliefs, even choosing to refuse marriage and consecrate herself to Jesus. Her courage and determination serve as an inspiration for all believers to stay true to their faith, even in the face of adversity.

What is St. Kateri’s legacy?

St. Kateri’s legacy is one of faith, courage, and devotion. She adds the grace of Native American cultures to the community of saints, reminding us of the value of living in harmony with God’s creation. Her patronages, which include ecology and the environment, reflect her deep appreciation for nature and her call to protect and care for the environment. St. Kateri’s story continues to inspire individuals from diverse backgrounds to embrace their faith wholeheartedly and live lives of holiness.

How can we incorporate St. Kateri’s example into our own lives?

We can incorporate St. Kateri’s example into our lives by embracing our faith with unwavering commitment, even in the face of opposition. Her story encourages us to live in harmony with nature, recognizing the interconnectedness of all living beings and our responsibility to care for God’s creation. St. Kateri’s legacy inspires us to live lives of courage, reverence, and dedication to Christ, following her example of unwavering faith and devotion.

Books and Gifts for Baptism and Confirmation

Join our email list to receive weekly emails with Catholic reflections and more.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Young Catholics