Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
I have always thought it says a lot about Catholics as to whether they have favorite saints, and who they are if they do have special saints. Here are my top ten.
10. Saint Andreas Wouters-Most saints have been extraordinary men and women. That was decidedly not the case with Andreas Wouters! A scandalous priest, he fathered several children. Suspended from his priestly duties, he was living in disgrace when God granted him the opportunity to die a martyr’s death, an opportunity he seized with both hands like a drowning man cast a life line. His courage and steadfastness redeemed his life of sin. May all of us have such a happy death as he did. Go here to read about him.
9. Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ-Not canonized yet, I have no doubt that “God’s Jester” is a saint in Heaven. During the Cristeros Rebellion in Mexico, he adopted many disguises to bring the sacraments to the Mexican people. A lover of jokes, he is proof positive that saints need not be solemn. When the Mexican government executed him, a death he met with incredible courage, the officials took copious pictures which appeared in newspapers. The strategy backfired with Cristeros troops treating the pictures as precious relics and carrying them with them into battle. Go here to read about him.
8. Saint Marianne Cope- Throughout my life I have been blessed with the friendship of strong women, starting with the love of my formidable sainted mother, and perhaps that is why I have always been drawn to strong female saints. Few have been stronger than Mother Marianne and her nuns who pioneered the care for female lepers in Hawaii. No difficulty or danger could deter her from bringing God’s love to her lepers. Go here to read about her.
7. Venerable Matt Talbot-Some saints become famous during their lifetime and some, the vast majority no doubt, are known only to God. Matt Talbot’s was a quiet path to sainthood that would be known only to God, but for the accident of his dying on a street in Dublin. However, God does not see as man sees, and I have always thought that this reformed drunk ranks high among the champions of Christ. Go here to read about him.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon near present day Auriesville, New York . Her father was a Mohawk Chieftain and her mother was an Algonquin Catholic convert, initially a captive of the Mohawks, who eventually married Kateri’s father. During a smallpox epidemic between 1661-1663 tragedy struck her family, with smallpox killing her parents and her brother. Her face was scarred as a result of smallpox and her sight diminished. She was adopted by an uncle.
Converted by Jesuit missionaries, she joined the Church, despite opposition from her family, on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1676. Fleeing persecution among her people she moved to Kahnawake, a village established south of Montreal by Jesuits for native converts. There Kateri embarked upon a life of asceticism, although cautioned against going to extremes by her Jesuit friends. She impressed them by her piety and the goodness that seemed to shine forth from her. She died young on Wednesday in Holy Week on April 17, 1680. Her last words were “Jesus I love you”. Continue reading