Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (pronounced [ˈɡaderi deɡaˈɡwita] in Mohawk) is also known as the Lily of the Mohawks, and is a Roman Catholic saint and an Algonquin–Mohawk laywoman. She was canonized in 2012, the first Indigenous saint in North America. Kateri is widely revered by Indigenous Catholics and other Christians across Canada and the U.S.
Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon on the south side of the Mohawk River in the Quebec/New York region, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic. All of Kateri’s family died and her face was badly scarred. Refusing to marry, she left her village and for the remaining five years of her life lived at the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake near Montreal. She converted to Roman Catholicism at age nineteen when she was baptized and named Kateri in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena.
After her death, Kateri’s scarred by smallpox face was said to have miraculously transformed to her previous beauty.
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