Doll of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha from Etsy seller St Anne’s Pixies
Kateri (or Catherine) Tekakwitha (1656-1680) was the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an Algonquian Catholic woman. At the age of 4, she lost her parents and her brothers to a smallpox outbreak. The outbreak left Kateri badly scarred with poor vision, which is why she was called ”Tekakwitha” or “she who bumps into things.”
At the age of 20, Kateri was baptized as a Catholic. She refused to marry, devoting her life to prayer and penitence. This behavior provoked scorn from her tribe and Kateri soon left her home in New York State to join an established community of Native American Christians in Kahnawake, Quebec.
At the mission, Kateri took a vow of chasity and became a sister. On April 17, 1680, Kateri died at the age of 24. Witnesses reported that within a few minutes of her death, the pock marks completely vanished from her face. Several healing miracles were attributed to her after her death.
Kateri was declared venerable by the Catholic Church in 1943 and was Beatified in 1980. The final step in her canonization is currently underway and Kateri could be named a saint soon. Her feast day is July 14.
Prayer circles are organized in the US and Canada to learn about and promote Kateri’s saintly life. Activist Sacheen Littlefeather coordinates San Fransisco’s Kateri Prayer Circle. A shrine in Fonda, NY is dedicated to her.