Native American Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is a saint dear to my daughter’s heart. She learned about the saint as part of her class project in third grade, and I love that I’ve since learned she can learn more about mentors for her Catholic faith and earn scouting recognitions for it as well.
Catholic organizations offer patch programs for both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and Camp Fire Girls of all ages. July 14 is considered to be the Feast Day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin mother, who lived in French Canada.
Kateri was born in an in Mohawk chief’s house in 1656 in New York. Her name is pronounced “gaderee.”
At age four Kateri’s family died of smallpox. She lived with her uncle in her house.
Kateri spent most of her life in a chapel because she wanted to follow God. She knew her tribe didn’t believe in the one true God.
Kateri acted as a Catholic and she became a Catholic when she was 20. One day while she was going to the chapel to get baptized, some of the kids in her tribe started throwing stones at her and she felt her cheek, and she knew she was bleeding. Then the adults started to make fun of her.
She went off to live with the Catholics at age 20. She did not get married because she believed that the one true God wanted her to be with Him.
She died on April 17, 1680, in Canada. She was age 24. The scars from her childhood disappeared from her face.
Kateri was canonized Oct. 21, 2012, by Pope Benedict XVI. Her feast day is July 14.
I chose her because my cousin is Native American, and I read about her life as a Mohawk child who became Catholic.
St. Kateri is the patron saint of nature. She is called Lily of the Mohawks because she loved God with all her heart and her heart was pure.
We completed the Girl Scout patch in our family, but both programs offer great opportunities to learn more about this Native American saint, whom I knew nothing about until a third-grade Catholic school project. If you have a Catholic scout and haven’t checked out the Footsteps in American Saints or Models of Faith scouting patch series, I highly recommend it for your family!
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