Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) Feast Day: July 14
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, known as the "Lily of the Mohawks," is the first native American canonized saint and a patron saint of the environment. Born in Ossernenon, a Mohawk village in the modern-day state of New York, she was scarred by an attack of smallpox at the age of four and often wore a blanket to hide her scarred face. That same epidemic killed her entire family. French Jesuit priests had established a mission in the nearby town of Auriesville and Tekakwitha became friendly with them as a youngster. When she came of age, she refused to marry, despite pressure from her adoptive parents. At 19, she converted to Christianity and took the name "Kateri," meaning "Catherine" in the Mohawk language, after St. Catherine of Siena. She moved to the Jesuit settlement of Kahnawake with other converts, and lived there for two years until her death from health complications at age 24. She was canonized by Saint John Paul II in 2012 and is recognized as a patroness of the environment because she and her people routinely gave thanks to God for the beauty of creation in all dimensions - sun, moon, stars, earth, water, fish, animals, plants, and winds. In this month of stewardship of the earth, we pray that her spirit may animate us.
Kateri Tekakwitha: Model of Bravery. Barbara Yoffie. Illustrated by Katherine Borgatti. Liguori Publications, 2012. (K-4) Courage, Humility, Schools of Faith. This installment of the Saints and Me! series features colorful illustrations alongside the life story of St. Kateri, focused on her as an example of courage.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith. Lillian M. Fisher. Pauline Books & Media, 2012. (4-6) Courage, Humility, Schools of Faith. A longer chapter book for older children, this is the story of St. Kateri's experience of persecution and ostracism, told in a relatable way for kids. Includes the historical stories of St. Kateri's life, as well as a prayer and an epilogue with shrine location and beatification information.
Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Maiden. Ignatius Press, 1991. Evelyn Brown. (5-8) Courage, Humility, Schools of Faith. Part of the Vision Books saint series for older children, this chapter book thoroughly tells the story of St. Kateri, from her early brush with smallpox, to her conversion to Christianity and desire to become a nun, to her death at age 24.