Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
Today the Church honors a "Blessed." Not a saint officially yet, but on her way. Born to an Algonquin Indian mother in 1656 in Auriesville, NY, Kateri (Catherine) Tekakwitha was the first person born in North American to be beatified. After her baptism and conversion to Christianity, she took a vow of virginity which was the "kiss of death" for a young Indian woman. Marriage was the only means of survival in her culture at that time. She was treated as a slave among her own people because of her conversion. Eventually(with the advice of a priest) Kateri escaped 200 miles north to Montreal Canada where she lived out her short life in prayer, fasting and penance for the conversion of her people. At the time of her death at 24, the disfigurement from small pox on her face disappeared and a touch of a smile came to her lips. After her death, many miracles were attributed to her intercession and she was beatified by JP2 in 1980. Blessed Kateri become a source of inspiration for native American Catholics.
Kateri said: “I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus. He must be my only love. The state of helpless poverty that may befall me if I do not marry does not frighten me. All I need is a little food and a few pieces of clothing. With the work of my hands I shall always earn what is necessary and what is left over I’ll give to my relatives and to the poor. If I should become sick and unable to work, then I shall be like the Lord on the cross. He will have mercy on me and help me, I am sure.”
Lord Jesus, give us the grace to take up our crosses (Lk. 9:23) and unite our suffering to yours (Col. 1:24) for the sake of the body of Christ. In your name we pray, Amen.
More on Blessed Kateri here.