Other Commemorations: St. Bonaventure, bishop and doctor; St. Francis Solano, priest (RM)
Kateri was born in 1656 near the town of Auriesville, New York, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior. She was baptized by Jesuit missionary Fr. Jacques de Lambertville on Easter of 1676 at the age of twenty. She devoted her life to prayer, penitential practices, and the care of the sick and aged in Caughnawaga near Montreal (where her relics are now enshrined). She incurred the hostility of her tribe because of her faith. She was devoted to the Eucharist, and to Jesus Crucified, and was called the "Lily of the Mohawks." She died in 1680 and was beatified June 22, 1980 — the first native American to be declared "Blessed." — Magnificat, July 2003According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Bonaventure. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on July 15.Historically it is also the feast of St. Francis Solano, Franciscan missionary in Lima, Peru. He was born in Andalusia, Spain, in 1549, and became a Franciscan in 1569. Francis labored for two decades in Spain and sailed to Peru in 1589. He worked until his death in Lima and elsewhere in South America.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
[Pronounce: Gah-deh-lee Deh-gah-quee-tah]
The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf were tortured to death by Huron and Iroquois Native American nations, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York. She was to be the first person born in North America to be beatified. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she was four, Kateri lost her parents and little brother in a smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind. She was adopted by an uncle, who succeeded her father as chief. He hated the coming of the Blackrobes (missionaries), but could do nothing to them because a peace treaty with the French required their presence in villages with Christian captives. She was moved by the words of three Blackrobes who lodged with her uncle, but fear of him kept her from seeking instruction. She refused to marry a Mohawk man and at nineteen finally got the courage to take the step of converting. She was baptized with the name Kateri (Catherine) on Easter Sunday.
- A wonderful place to make a pilgrimage is the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs. The Shrine is situated in the heartland of New York State, in the Diocese of Albany. The Shrine is the site of America's first and only canonized Martyrs: St. Rene Goupil (1642), Jesuit brother; St. Isaac Jogues (1646), Jesuit priest; and St. John Lalande (1646), lay missioner. Here also is the birthplace of the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks, born at Ossernenon in 1656, just ten years after these Martyrdoms.
- Another shrine to visit is the St. Kateri Tekakwitha National Shrine and Historic Site in Fonda, New York.
- Read more about St. Kateri in this article, The Lily and the Cross.
- For even more information you may order Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Maiden by Evelyn Brown and/or Kateri Tekakwitha, Mystic of the Wilderness by Margaret Bunson.
St. Francis Solano
The diocese of Cordova, in Spain, was the birthplace of this Saint, who won many thousands of souls to God. From his earliest years he was characterized by a modest behavior, prudent silence, and edifying meekness.