St. Kateri Tekakwitha, also known as Lily of the Mohawks, was a Native American saint who lived in the 17th century. She was born in 1656 in present-day New York state, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin mother.
Kateri was orphaned at a young age when her parents and brother died of smallpox, which also left her with a scarred face and impaired vision. She was raised by her uncle, who was the chief of the village, and was taught the traditional Mohawk ways.
Kateri converted to Christianity in her late teens and faced persecution and ridicule from her tribe for her beliefs. She ultimately fled to a Christian settlement in Canada and lived a life of intense devotion and asceticism.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha is known for several miracles attributed to her intercession. One of the most famous occurred in 2006 when a young boy, Jake Finkbonner, was cured of a flesh-eating bacteria after his family prayed to Kateri for her intercession. Jake had been given little chance of survival by doctors, but he made a full recovery after a relic of Kateri’s bone was placed on his wound.
Another miracle attributed to St. Kateri Tekakwitha occurred in the late 19th century when a group of French nuns in Montreal prayed to her during a smallpox outbreak. None of the nuns who had prayed to Kateri contracted the disease, despite being in close contact with infected patients.
There have also been numerous accounts of personal healings and other miracles attributed to St. Kateri’s intercession over the centuries. Her story has inspired many and continues to be celebrated by Native American Catholics and others around the world.
Learn more about her on her shrine’s website.