who is saint kateri?

Kateri was born in 1656, in a Mohawk Indian village. When she was only four years old, smallpox hit her village and killed many people including her parents and brother. Kateri survived but was weakened and left with scars which partially blinded her and served as a source of humiliation throughout her childhood. 

After her parents' death, Kateri was raised by tribal relatives, becoming an expert in domestic tribal arts and growing in deep appreciation for nature. As she got older, Kateri encountered some visiting Jesuit missionaries and was drawn to their joy and relationship with Christ. She began to lead a life inspired by their example. Kateri fell in love with Jesus, refused an arranged marriage by her family, and converted to Catholicism at age 19, taking a vow of chastity and pledging to marry only Jesus Christ.  

Her village did not approve of this decision, leading to great suffering and persecution from her family and neighbors. She fled to the Christian Indian mission of St Francis Xavier in Montreal where she became known as the “Lily of the Mohawks” in recognition of her purity, kindness, prayer, faith, and heroic suffering. 

Sadly, just five years after her conversion to Catholicism, she became ill and passed away at age 24, on April 17, 1680. Her last words were, "Jesos konoronhkwa! which translate to "Jesus, I love you." Moments after dying, her scarred face "shone like the sun."

Did you know?

  • Kateri is the first Native American saint and was canonized on October 21, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.
  • The name Kateri is a Mohawk form of the name Catherine. She chose this name at her baptism after St Catherine of Siena but was formerly called Tekakwitha.
  • Because of St. Kateri's example of chastity and virtue, she was called Lily of the Mohawks
  • Kateri is the patron saint of ecology & the environment, orphans, Native Americans, people in exile, and people ridiculed for their piety

can we pray for yoU?

We would be honored to welcome your prayer requests so we can carry them with us and join you in prayer through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary and our patroness, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.  God bless you!