Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha: "Lily of the Mohawks"

Today is the Feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, patroness of ecology and the environment.

What I find most inspiring in this woman is that she suffered a great deal of persecution from those who should have been there to support her. (Fr. Austin likened this to today’s Gospel, wherein Jesus has trouble as a prophet among those nearest to him.)

At the age of four, she began living with two aunts and an uncle after an outbreak of smallpox, which claimed the lives of her parents. Some time after this incident, Tekakwitha decided to get baptized into the Church, due in large part to the example of her mother, a dedicated Catholic.

But life wasn’t easy after her baptism. Her family disagreed so much that she was essentially disowned, and she became the village outcast.

But she kept the faith.

Not too long after her baptism, she faced so much persecution from her family and those whom she had considered friends, that she had to flee 200 miles to a Catholic mission near Montreal.

It gets cold there in the winter, you know, but she would remain in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the freezing chapel nightly. And so many, here and now, refuse to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament even once a month in a comfortable church! There, she prayed the rosary–which she always kept around her neck–faithfully.

Others liked to pray around her in church, and when someone asked why, one responded: “Because I feel close to God when Kateri prays.” What a statement!

Her motto: “Who can tell me what is most pleasing to God that I may do it?” What a humble woman!

Her encounter with smallpox left her partly blind for life, and resulted in other health problems that she never ridded herself of. Because of her partial blindness, she would stumble around quite a bit. And so her name, Tekakwitha, translated, means: “The One Who Walks Groping for Her Way.”

Her last words: “Jesus, I love You.”

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha: Pray for us!