Bronze edition: 9 | Height: 30″
Kateri Tekakwitha was a Mohawk girl born in 1656. Soon after birth, she was scarred for life by a smallpox epidemic which took the life of every member of her family. Later, despite the hostility of most of the people of her village, she was converted to Catholicism by Jesuit missionaries and eventually was forced to flee her homeland in the Mohawk valley to sanctuary at the missionary village of Caughnawaga near Montreal. During her brief life and in the many years since, many miracles have been attributed to her and to her intercession on behalf of those who have prayed to her.
The story of her life and her conversion is all the more remarkable when one considers that in 1646, a scant ten years before her birth, Isaac Jogues and other Jesuits gave their lives after much suffering and torture to these same Mohawks whom Father Vimont described as the “Scourge of the infant church”. “My pen has no ink black enough to describe the fury of the Iroquois”, writes Ragueneau. “In a word”, says Vimont, “they ate men with as much appetite and more pleasure than hunters eat a boar or a stag.”
It is said, therefore, that from the blood of the martyrs sprang forth Kateri Tekakwitha, called “The Lily of the Mohawks”. Though scarred by smallpox, at the moment of her death, the Jesuits by her side reported the scars vanished and her complexion became pure. Three centuries after her death, Kateri Tekakwetha was canonized “St. Katherine” by the Roman Catholic Church, the first and only Native American to achieve Sainthood.