St. Kateri Tekakwiha is our native American saint.

Friday, 7/14/17

Today we honor a native American saint, Kateri Tekakwitha, a 24 year old vigin, who died in 1680. She was the  daughter of a Mohawk father and an Algonguin mother.

Baptized as a teenager, she was called Catherine, after Catherine of Siena, but with her people, the Catherine became Kateri. She was four years old when her village was hit by a severe epidemic of Smallpox; and that gave Kateri her other name, Tekakwith, which meant “Bumpy Face.”

For her life threatening resistance to marriage, Kateri has been recognized as a heroic virgin.

Let me tell a personal story. There were two priests from a family in my home parish. Tall fellows, Andy and Larry, brought me along in the summer of 1953 on  vacation in the East. We had our pictures taken on the steps of the Capitol, and we knocked on the door of the rectory of St. Patrick’s in New York.

That night, heading off to reach Buffalo by dawn, two hours after midnight we searched out Kateri’s shrine.

Let me tell you about those brothers. Larry, newly ordained was put under a pastor who made life hell for him. The parish secretary packed his things, and together they headed off for Kansas City. 

After finding a Catholic grade school for their kids, they took over the school, with Larry’s wife volunteering as secretary, and with Larry working very hard at keeping the school buildings in shape. Then, as a real oddity for a run-away priest, Larry won a special award from Pope Pius XII.

Father Andy volunteered for mission work in Bolivia where he did such great work that they made him a bishop.

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