KATERI TEKEWATHA
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LILY OF THE MOHAWKS
FEAST DAY JULY 14TH
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha or Blessed Catherine Tekakwitha (pronounced /??deli de??kwid?/ in Mohawk) (1656 April 17, 1680), the daughter of a Mohawk warrior and a Catholic Algonquin woman, was born in the Mohawk fortress of Ossernenon near present-day Auriesville, New York. When she was four, smallpox swept through Ossernenon, and Tekakwitha was left with unsightly scars and poor eyesight. The outbreak took the lives of her brother and both her parents. She was then adopted by her uncle, who was a chief of the Turtle-clan.[1] As the adopted daughter of the chief, she was courted by many of the warriors looking for her hand in marriage. However, during this time she began taking interest in Christianity, which was taught to her by her mother.

In 1666, Alexandre de Prouville burned down Ossernenon. Kateri's clan then settled on the north side of the Mohawk River, near what is now Fonda, New York. While living here, at the age of 20, Tekakwitha was baptized on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1676[1] by Father Jacques de Lamberville, a Jesuit. At her baptism, she took the name "Kateri," a Mohawk pronunciation of the name "Catherine" as it was pronounced in French.

Unable to understand her zeal, members of the tribe often chastised her, which she took as a testament to her faith. Because she was persecuted by her Native American kin, which even resulted in threats on her life, she fled to an established community of Native American Christians located in Kahnawake, Quebec, where she lived a life dedicated to prayer, penance, and care for the sick and aged. In 1679, she took a vow of chastity, as in the Catholic expression of Consecrated virginity. A year later, Kateri died at the age of 24, with her last words being "Jesus, I love you!"[1]

She is called "The Lily of the Mohawks," the "Mohawk Maiden," the "Pure and Tender Lily," and the "Fairest Flower among True Men." [2]