“I KNOW SHE LISTENS TO US” inserts Loretta who said an Our Father and Hail Mary each Wednesday for years. Loretta was at the San Xavier Mission’s Celebration of the Canonization of the first Native American Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (KA’-tehr-ee teh-kuh-KWIH’-thuh). Loretta came and got a seat on the second row because of the love she inherited in 1960 from her mother who came to the San Xavier Mission and prayed regularly and she had brought Loretta along. When Loretta’s thyroid cancer reappeared after 25 years she had no fear because he loves Kateri, her life has been touched by the humble little girl who loved the Cross and fought her illness. “People here are praying for me, she says of her San Xavier Parish!” Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” Kateri was born in 1656 to a pagan Iroquois father and an Algonquin Christian mother. The daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Catholic Algonquin woman, Kateri was born in 1656 in Auriesville, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Albany and in the heart of the Iroquois (EER’-uh-koy) Confederacy to which the Mohawks belong. Her parents and only brother died when she was 4 during a smallpox epidemic that left her badly scarred and with impaired eyesight. She went to live with her uncle, a Mohawk, and was baptized Catholic by Jesuit missionaries. She was ostracized and persecuted by others for her faith, and she died in Canada, when she was 24.
“May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are,” Pope Benedict said before 80,000 faithful. “Saint Kateri, protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust you to the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America!” Spoke the Pope early this morning at Vatican City a sunrise away from the Sonoran Desert where the Tohono O’odam hosted their Celebration to Tekakwitha, where the Yaqui and Aztec Tribe Dancers escorted the procession of the Figurine that Blessed the People who Love Kateri and the Tohono O’odham “Spirited Runners” carried her Cross! San Xavier Mission was completed in 1797 by a work crew of Tohono O’odham Indian who built this Mission at a time when few structures anywhere rivaled its size or magnificent Spanish-colonial architecture. The Franciscan Order retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parish and provides a Mission School to teach the Reservation’s kids.
Franciscan Friar Steve Varnufsky finds the Canonization of Kateri is “a unifying figure” she has validated the faith of thousands of Native Americans who are Christians. Today, Varnufsky BELIEVES was a “Celebration of God’s Love” that was bringing together many tribes and nations. For Maria Orozzo who wore a Kateri Tekakwitha T-shirt knew this was very, very important and this rung true in her heart and enriched her spirit. For Miss Pasqua Yacqi Ariana Molina she believed Kateri’s canionization was something to celebrate and her friend, Junior Miss Paqua Yaqui Brandy Uriarte, said she “was very happy”.
Father Ponce who ministers to the flock on the eastside of the enormous Tohono O’Odham Reservation said to a crowd of several hundred “We place her on the altar! We hold her up for all to see ! We witness to her Life !” “She stands before US as a mirror of GOD” “Saints come from somewhere ! Look around says Friar Ponce, waving his arms to the crowd, this is where Saints come from. Some day we hold them up to the Lord. “THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE”. Loretta agrees one night she continued, she was sick at home and unable to make her weekly pray trip to Kateria Tekakwitha, the cancer weighing on her mind, she began to pray and Kateri appeared before her eyes and her pain lessened and her saint disappeared with her prayers…
VATICAN CITY — Some 80,000 pilgrims in flowered lei, feathered headdresses and other traditional garb flooded St. Peter’s Square on Sunday as Pope Benedict XVI added seven more saints onto the roster of Catholic role models in a bid to reinvigorate the faith in parts of the world where it’s lagging. One of the new saints was American Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint from the U.S. Among the few people chosen to receive Communion from the pope himself was Jake Finkbonner, a 12-year-old boy of Native American descent from the western U.S. state of Washington, whose recovery from an infection of flesh-eating bacteria was deemed “miraculous” by the Vatican. The Vatican determined that Jake was cured through Kateri’s intercession after his family and community invoked her in their prayers, paving the way for her canonization.
Kateri was declared venerable by the Catholic Church in 1943 and she was Beatified in 1980. Hundreds of thousands have visited shrines to Kateri erected at both St. Francis Xavier and Caughnawaga and at her birth place at Auriesville, New York. Pilgrimages to these sites continue to celebrate the first Native American to be declared a Blessed. Her feast day is July 14. She is the patroness of the environment and ecology.
A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church’s interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. It is a place where visitors can step back in time and enter an authentic 18th Century space. Mission San Xavier del Bac is 9 miles south of downtown Tucson, Arizona just off of Interstate 19. Take exit 92 (San Xavier Road) and follow signs to the Mission. Named “the White Dove of the Desert” for it’s stark contrast between the surrounding land and the white building. The interior is covered with recently restored intricate, hand painted frescos. There is no admission charge to visit Mission San Xavier. Some 200,000 visitors come each year from all over the world to view what is widely considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States. 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Allow 2–3 hours.
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