Celebration of First Native American Saint at Our Lady of Snows Church Sunday

MAYETTA: This coming Sunday (Oct.21) Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Snows Church (5971 166 Rd) by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann at 3 p.m. to mark the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first indigenous saint to be recognized by Pope Benedict, XVI, in Rome. Traditional drumming will begin at 2:30 p.m. and dinner will follow after the Mass.

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Roman Catholic people around the world are joining in the celebration to recognize the Mohawk-Algonquin sister who lived from 1656-1680 and was known for her deep and spiritual life. The public is invited to attend the celebration that is being hosted by Our Lady of the Snows Church, Haskell Indian Nations University Catholic Center, and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

For more information about the celebration call Monica Olivera at 785.842.2401

Kateri Tekakwitha
(1656-1680) was known for her deep spiritual life, self-sacrificing service and healing prayers for others before God.

Kateri lived in tumultuous times. Her Algonquin mother, a Catholic Christian, was captured in battle by the Mohawk whose chief married her. Kateri’s father was suspicious of the Jesuit missioners, so Kateri was not raised as a Christian. As a young adult, she eventually learned the beliefs of her mother and requested baptism at the age of 21.

When she was 4 years old small pox ravaged the Mohawk village near Auriesville, N.Y. claiming both of her parents and baby brother. Kateri suffered too but survived and the disease damaged her eyesight, disfigured her skin, and left her in fragile health. After being orphaned she was taken in by a Mohawk uncle and raised in the traditional ways. Upon becoming an adult, she chose to become Christian and journeyed to Canada near Montreal, where a village of Native American Christians welcomed her and she could live freely as a Catholic. It was there that she began devoting her life to Christ and took the vow of virginity. She taught children, cared for the sick and elderly, and spent many hours in the woods in prayer and penance.

Kateri died at the age of 24 years and surrounded by friends right before her death told them about her love of God. Witnesses reported that, a few minutes after her passing, the small pox scars miraculously disappeared and her skin returned to a healthy and beautiful appearance.

Our Lady of the Snows Church
is located on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. For directions to church, from U.S. Highway 75, take 158 Road for nine miles to I Road. Turn north on I Road for one mile to 166 Road and turn west for approximately 1/4 mile until top of hill where church is located.