Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Learn the Story of North America’s First Indigenous Saint

Pope Francis will bless the statue of North America’s first indigenous saint during his visit to Canada on July 24-30.

It is Saint Catherine (Kateri) Tekquitha, the first red-skinned saint in the United States, who is regarded as “the patron saint of nature and ecology” along with Saint Francis of Assisi.

The papal blessing of the statue of this indigenous saint will occur during a meeting with the indigenous population of Pope Francis and with members of the parish community of the Church of the “Sacred Heart of the First Peoples” on Monday, July. 25.

The Church of the Sacred Heart of the First Peoples is located in Edmonton, Canada, and was built in 1913.

It is one of the oldest Catholic churches in the city and is known for its special pastoral attention to the poor and marginalised.

In 1991, Archbishop Joseph McNeill designated it a national parish for Canada’s three largest indigenous populations (First Nations, Métis and Inuit).

As described in an official Vatican document, “it is the first of its kind in Canada” because there “Catholic belief is expressed in the context of Aboriginal culture.”

Along these lines, the building has been decorated with “many unique pieces of sacred art made by indigenous artisans” and, over the years, “the many immigrants and refugees who have come to settle in Edmonton from all over the world have given Sacred Heart Church You have made your spiritual home.

brief biographical data

St. Catherine (Kateri) Tekquitha was born in Oriseville, New York (United States) in 1656.

His mother was a Christian member of an Algonquian tribe that had been captured by the Iroquois and freed by Tekquitha’s father, a Mohawk tribal chief.

At the age of four, his parents and his brother died of an epidemic of smallpox. Due to the same disease, he was left with a disfigured face, severely damaged vision, and the care of his uncles.

At the age of 11, Catalina learned of Christianity when Jesuit missionaries arrived in her town, with the Mohicans to sign peace with the French.

The young woman was able to be baptized at the age of 20 after facing opposition from her family and rejection from her community.

He had to flee his hometown until he reached some Christian communities in Canada.

Shortly after, he received his first communion on Christmas Day and took a vow of holiness. During his short life, he maintained an intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

He left for the Father’s house on April 17, 1680, during Holy Week of that year, and was only 24 years old.

From the moment of his death, people developed a great devotion towards him, and many pilgrims came to Kaughnawaga, to see his grave.

In 1884, a monument was erected next to the grave of Father Clarence Walworth and became known as “The Lily of the Mohawks”.

St. Catherine was canonized by St. John Paul II in 1980 and canonized by Benedict XVI in October 2012.

According to the Martyr Scriptures, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St. Catherine Tekquitha every April 17th.

Nation World News Desk
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