July 14 is the feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. She is another of the Americans honored with a patch in the NCCS-BSA Footsteps of the American Saints patch program. This program encourages youth to learn more about our American saints and blesseds. This patch can be earned within a scout group, youth group, or just as a family activity.
As part of the patch program, young people must learn a little about the life of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Here is some information to help.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
Kateri was the daughter of a Mohawk warrior. She was born in New York in 1656. When she was four years old, a smallpox epidemic struck her village. Her brother and parents died of the disease Kateri was also infected and the disease left her partially blind, with facial scars, and other chronic health issues. She was adopted by her uncle after her parents died.
Her mother had been Christian, but her uncle discouraged interest in the Christian faith. At age 18, she had a foot injury and was confined to bed. During this time, she was visited by Father Jacques de Lamberville, a Jesuit priest. Father de Lamberville convinced Kateri’s uncle to permit him to give Kateri religious instruction. At age 20, Kateri was baptized.
After her baptism, Kateri was increasingly harassed by the members of her village. Six months following her baptism, she moved to Sault Saint-Louis near Montreal to escape the harassment and to work at the Catholic mission there. There she lived a life of prayer, helping the poor, and comforting the sick. On March 25, 1679, Kateri took a vow of perpetual virginity. She died on April 17, 1680 at the age of 24.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is known as “The Lily of the Mohawks”. Her feast day is July 14. She is scheduled for canonization in October 2012 and will be the first native American woman to be canonized. She is the patroness of the environment and ecology. She is seen as a bridge between the Catholic faith and the modern Native Americans.