St. Kateri Feast Weekend

Over the weekend of July 10-11, 2021, while on break from his ministry as an instructor at our St. Francis High School (Athol Springs, NY), Our Lady of the Angels Province friar – Fr. Max Avila, OFM Conv. was able to join the pilgrims at our Saint Kateri National Shrine and Historic Site (Fonda, NY) to celebrate Mass during the Saint Kateri Feast Day Weekend:
  • July 10, 2021 – 4:30 PM Saint Kateri Feast Day Vigil Mass with the Traditional Purification Rite and Solemn Blessing with the relic of Saint Kateri
  • July 10, 2021 – 7:00 PM Prayer and healing service
  • July 11, 2021 – 10:30 AM Mass with Traditional Purification Rite and Solemn Blessing with the relic of Saint Kateri
The Feast Day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha is July 14th.
She was a Mohawk woman who lived in the 17th century, with a profound and moving story of conversion to Christianity, of courage in the face of suffering and extraordinary holiness. St. Kateri also came to be  known as the Lily of the Mohawks, in recognition of her kindness, her prayer life, her faithfulness and her suffering. She is the first Native American Saint in the United States of America and Canada and our Shrine ministry honoring her is located in Fonda, New York; her home during her teenage years, and the site of her Baptism.
St. Kateri’s parents, her mother a Christian Algonquin mother – her father a Mohawk Chief, and her brother died of smallpox when she was only four. She survived but was badly scarred and left with poor vision, giving her the name “Tekakwitha” {she who bumps into things}. Taken in by her uncle, and following the tradition of her people, at the age of eight she was paired her with a young boy with the expectation of marriage. Instead, she wanted to dedicate her life to God, remain single, and give herself only to Jesus. When she was 10, a war caused the Mohawk survivors to move to the modern Fonda, NY area creating the Caughnawaga village, where she lived for another 10 years – the site of our St. Kateri Tekakwitha National Shrine and Historic Site. She began instruction in the Catholic Faith in her late teens, with her uncle’s permission ~ but in secret because he was greatly opposed to Christianity. In turn she was ridiculed, scorned, beaten and her life was threatened by others in her village, but that did not deter her. At the age of 20, she was baptized Catherine (Kateri in Mohawk speech) and later escaped North to the St. Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal (a village also named Caughnawaga/Kahnawake – meaning fortified place or castle). There, in peace, she received her 1st Eucharist, made a vow of perpetual virginity, and consecrated herself to Our Lady. In her new home, she was greatly loved and respected, as she taught the children, and worked with the elderly and sick, all with a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Cross of Jesus. After a suffering a harsh illness, she died at the age of 24 and was buried in Canada. Tradition holds that at her death, she spoke the final words, “Jesus, I love You,” and moments later the pock marks vanished from her restored radiant face.

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