Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lily of the Mohawks: another holy gift from God

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
We have a special event to pray for and to rejoice about as the Year Of Faith, Porta Fidei, approaches. She was known for her chastity and her purity. Our young people will soon have another saint as the perfect model for their lives in serving Christ.  In less than two months, Canada and the Unites States will be able to call the first Native American not just Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha but, Saint Keteri Tekakwitha. Alleluia! Alleluia! The canonization will take in Rome on October 21, 2012. The celebrant will be Pope Benedict XVI. 

Kateri was the daughter of a Mohawk warrior. Her mother died from smallpox when Katerina was only four years old. The sickness took her father's life. She too got sick with the deadly virus and it distorted her looks. She was raised by an uncle and two aunts and managed to survive. She was not baptized until she was 20 years old and as result of becoming a Christian she suffered rejection and criticism from her tribe. However, she remained strong in her faith, and she often went into the woods to speak to God and pray. 

Kateri became the village outcast because she would not renounce her new religion. As a result, she moved almost 400 kilometres away from her birthplace to a Native Catholic mission near Montreal. In her new home, she spent the rest of her short life doing penance and serving God's people, especially the sick and the old. She had a great devotion to the Eucharist and to Jesus on the Cross. 

She was born in 1656 near Auriesville, New York and died in 1680 at the young age of 24. Her beatification by Blessed John Paul II was held 
in 1980 and her feast day is July 14. After her canonization, she, like St. Francis of Assisi, will be the patron saint of the environment and ecology. Known as the "Lily of the Mohawks", she has been the inspiration in starting many new ministries in Catholic Churches both in Canada and the rest of the world.

Thousands of pilgrims each year visit the shrines named to honour these holy people such as the Shrine of Our lady of Martyrs established near Auriesville. During this wonderful. grace-filled event in the life of the Church, we should also remember all the other Canadian Martyrs who died for the faith. The Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario, celebrated the Feast Day of the Canadian Martyrs on Saturday 22, 2012. Leading up to the Feast Day, a novena was prayed during the week to the Martyrs with the celebration of Holy Mass on each of the nine days. (It can still be prayed alone, in your family or in a parish. Prayers have no best before date.) The official event is over, but as we celebrate today in the liturgical calendar the Canadian Martyrs, it's a special spiritual opportunity to pray to these saints to intercede for us so that Canada will soon return to its Christian roots founded on the blood of the martyrs.

So in advance of her canonization, we humbly say, St. Kateri pray for us, and for all the Canadian martyrs to pray for us. We also ask God that our schools, our homes, our places of work and of recreation be free from government policies that compel Christians to compromise their faith in any way so they can live the truth of the Gospel. Happy Canadian Martyrs' Feast Day! Why not share this peace and joy of faith with a friend and family? Why not one day soon go on a pilgrimage to one of these shrines dedicated to the Native Canadian or American martyrs? Let's rediscover the great love and beauty that is our faith in Christ. It's what the Year Of Faith is all about.

1 comment:

  1. Students attending Ontario and Canadian schools should learn more about Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Blessed Kateri was known for her chastity and purity values that our young students should be taught about these days, not about the culture of death.

    So in advance of Blessed Kateri's canonization we ask this precious new Saint to pray for all children attending schools that they may be taught about the culture of life in their classrooms. May a God of love, hope and mercy bless this petition with many blessings and graces.