Lily of the Mohawks: Canada’s first aboriginal saint to be celebrated
ST. LAURENT, Sask. — A Roman Catholic church in Saskatchewan is holding a gospel jamboree to celebrate Canada’s first aboriginal saint.
Kateri Tekakwitha was an Algonquin-Mohawk woman who died in 1680. Also known as Lily of the Mohawks, Kateri is considered the patron of ecology, nature, and the environment.
Pope Benedict approved her canonization late last year and she is to be sainted Oct. 21 at the Vatican.
Roy Wilmhoff of the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church on the Sturgeon Lake First Nation says the jamboree on Tuesday and Wednesday will feature prayers, singing and services.
“In the Catholic church ... to be recognized as a saint there has to be a miracle or two that the church recognizes,” said Wilmhoff. “She’s the first aboriginal woman in Canada or the United States (to be sainted).”
Kateri was approved for sainthood when the church recognized as a miracle the healing of a five-year-old boy who had flesh-eating disease.
In 2006, a Washington state boy, about five years old, hurt himself while playing basketball. The young boy bumped his chin on the ground and contracted flesh-eating disease.
Doctors removed much of the boy’s face, but the disease was unrelenting. They had come to a point where they couldn’t do much more.
Eventually a priest was brought in to anoint the boy for healing purposes. The spiritual leader also spoke with the parish and asked that prayers to Kateri be said for the boy. Many people already believed articles of her clothing had healing powers.
A sister of the parish visited the child with a relic of Kateri’s and told the boy’s mother to place it on her son. Both the mother and sister began to pray over the boy.
A short time later, the disease stopped progressing. The boy is now 11 and has had reconstructive surgery.
(CKOM, The Canadian Press)