Biography of Potential Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

About the potential saint Kateri Tekakwitha, biography and history, causes and current status.

KATERI TEKAKWITHA (1656-1680)

Cause. Born in Auriesville, N.Y., the resting-place of the North American Martyrs, she fled to a Christian village because of native opposition to her devotion to Christ.

There, at the age of 21, she received her 1st Holy Communion. She lived a life of austerity and charity, and did something unheard-of--she made a private vow of chastity--an exceptional act, as an Indian woman's survival depended upon getting a husband. Her death at the age of 24 was an inspiration to the Indian community and was followed by an outbreak of religious fervor among them.

Devil's Advocate. Her sanctity may be unquestioned, but she lacks the necessary number of miracles.

Nomination. A collection of biographical data written by Jesuit missionaries in the years following her death provided the documentation for her cause, which was introduced in Rome in 1932. The Tekakwitha League, located at Auriesville, and one of her prime promoters, publishes a quarterly and directs other activities to disseminate knowledge of her.

Present Stage. As a tribute to her, the 1st instance of the liturgical use of the vernacular which was sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church was in the church of the Indian village where her bones lie. The people sing the responses to the Mass in Iroquois, and the inscriptions on the Stations of the Cross are in the same language.

Recently, Kateri Tekakwitha was declared "Venerable."

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