It’s time to celebrate!
July 14th is the Feast Day of St. Kateri.
Kateri Tekakwitha, a member of the Mohawk tribe, is one of the youngest and bravest American saints. Kateri (which means “Catherine” in the Mohawk language) was born in the 1650s to a tribe of Indigenous people living in what is now New York. Kateri’s parents died when she was very young and she was raised by her uncle, who was the chief of her village. When Kateri was about 10 years old, three French priests traveled to her village to share the Gospel story with the Mohawk people. (At that time, the Mohawks were pagans – they did not believe in Jesus.)
Little Kateri loved hearing about Jesus and wanted to be baptized but was afraid of her uncle, who did not accept the Catholic faith. Kateri kept her love of Jesus in her heart and would often go into the woods alone to pray. Years later, another priest came to her village. This time, Kateri decided to be baptized, and she became Catholic on Easter Sunday 1676. Her family was angry about her choice and made her life very difficult. Because she would not work on Sundays (in order to keep Sunday holy), they refused to give her any food every Sunday. The villagers often mocked her and sometimes threw stones at her. Eventually, it became too dangerous for her to stay in her village. With the help of the priest, Kateri escaped in the middle of the night and walked 200 miles to a village of other Christian Indigenous people in Canada. Once there, Kateri lived a peaceful and holy life. She was beloved by her new community and became known as the “Lily of the Mohawks” for her purity and faithfulness.
St. Kateri’s life teaches us that we can all achieve holiness, even when situations are not ideal. On her path to holiness, Kateri had to face disappointing her family, becoming an outcast in her community, sickness, and persecution. She did not let these challenges deter her. She trusted God and he provided for her. Through his goodness and grace, God placed people in Kateri’s life that supported her on her faith journey. In return, Kateri dedicated her life to fasting and praying that the Mohawk people would convert to Catholicism.
Time to Celebrate!
Good news! A festive feast doesn’t need to be fussy. Here are a few easy ways to celebrate the Feast of St. Kateri:
- Print out this free coloring sheet for your little saints to enjoy.
- Say a Hail Mary. St. Kateri loved saying the Hail Mary, even as she worked outside in the freezing cold. In honor of her feast day, say a Hail Mary as a family.
- Fast from a meal and offer the sacrifice up for the conversion of souls.
- Support a friend in their faith journey. Do you know someone who is trying to grow in their faith? As a family, think of a way to help! Invite them to mass, submit a prayer request or mass intention for them, or let them borrow your favorite religious book.
Another great way to spread the faith? Give a Catholic family gift to a loved one! Learn more about gifting a subscription to your favorite saints in training.