For Immediate Release: October 10, 2012
Celebrating the Canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha
On Sunday, October 21, 2012 in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI will officially proclaim Kateri Tekakwitha a saint. This joyous occasion will be celebrated throughout the country by First Nations people, as well by other Christians who have long admired this young lady’s strength of faith and love of God.
“This is a significant event”, stated Bishop Richard Grecco. “Kateri is the first native North American to be declared a saint.”
In recognition of this proclamation to sainthood, Bishop Grecco will preside at the celebration of Mass, at Ste. Anne’s church in Lennox Island on Sunday, October 21st at 11:15 a.m. This will be a special opportunity for the First Nations people of Prince Edward Island to celebrate this historic event.
“Our community is very thankful that Kateri is being officially recognized as a saint by the Church”, commented Chief Darlene Bernard, of the Lennox Island First Nation. “It will be an important time for us to commemorate this remarkable woman and our common native heritage.”
Kateri was born in 1656 in what is now northern New York State, and ultimately moved to a Jesuit mission in Kahnawake, Quebec, near present day Montreal. At the age of 20 she was baptized a Christian and lived a devout life teaching young children and caring for the sick and elderly. She died at the early age of 24, from poor health complications, resulting from childhood smallpox (contracted during an epidemic that claimed her Algonguin mother and Mohawk father). She has been held with considerable affection for quite some time among native people across North America and given the name “Lily of the Mohawks”.
“Although interest in a saint can at times, seemingly wane”, remarked Bishop Grecco. “This young person has had a special appeal that has been sustained for many years. She has been an inspiring model and example of devoting one’s life to loving and serving God.”
For further information regarding Kateri Tekakwitha please check the Diocesan website, www.dioceseofcharlottetown.com or directly enter her name in a search engine such as “Google” and you can access a number of sites devoted to her.