Kateri Tekakwitha was born in Ossernenon in the year 1656. She was born into this world a child of mixed anchestry, her mother was an Algonquin and her father a Mohawk. Kateri became an orphan in the year 1660, when the smallpox epidemic nearly destroyed the entire village, taking the lives of Kateriís parents and her brother.
Kateri was then adopted by an uncle who had great hatred for the Christian people. The smallpox disease left Kateri with scarred skin and really terrible eyesight. Kateri moved to a new village with her uncle and his family.
After the smallpox epedemic had happened, they burned the old village and moved to Kahnawake. It was in Kahnawake that Kateri saw for the first time the men they called the Blackrobes. The Blackrobes were the Christian priests also known as the Jesuits. Their job was to convert as many natives as they could into becoming Christian. For many years Kateri avoided the Blackrobes but watched with great interest as they did their work. Kateri secretly wished to be baptized a Christian but feared her uncleís reaction, so she waited until she could no longer bear to be anything but a Christian.
On Easter in 1676, Kateri was baptized a Christian, and she felt very close to God. Kateri spent many hours praying and talking to God. Over the next few years Kateri refused to marry, believing that she was married to God and no man could replace the lord in her eyes and heart. Many people ridiculed her and her religious beliefs but Kateri would not be scared or threatened into leaving Christianity, she was very devoted to God and the Blackrobes. Kateri escaped from her uncle and the village one day to go north to learn more about Christianity, with the help of her brother in law and a huron indian.
Once she arrived at her destination, Kateri wanted to become a nun. The Blakrobes said that she was too young to do this, but Kateri proved to them that she was ready, and so they allowed her to become a sister of the mission. Kateri was very happy to spend her life as a servant of God.
As the years went on, Kateri became sick with another illness, tuberculosis had infected her making her weak and very ill. Overtime the disease took away all of Kateriís strength and finally it took her life.
Kateri died on April 17, 1680 at the mission of Laprairie at the age of twenty-four. Those who were with her when she died said that Kateriís scars disappeared and she became very beautiful.
It is believed that Kateri has performed many miracles since her death, curing the sick and helping those in need through their prayers to Kateri. After much investigation concerning Katerís miracles, she was declared venerable by Pope Pius XII on January 3, 1943. Kateri was then beautified by Pope John Paul II on June 30, 1980.
Fonda & Auriesville, NY | Saint Francis Xavier Mission and Fort Saint Louis |