Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha on her way to sainthood

By Diane Poplawski, OP

On Dec. 19, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed he signed a decree acknowledging a miracle attributed to the intervention of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. This is the remaining miracle needed for her canonization. This announcement has long been anticipated, hoped for and prayed for by Native Peoples and countless others throughout the country and beyond.

Pope Pius XII declared Kateri Venerable in 1943. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1980. Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” will be one of seven who will be canonized sometime in the future. She is the first Native American from North America to be so honored. Blessed Kateri was born in 1656 of a Christian Catholic Algonquin mother and a Mohawk Chief. She is the patroness of the Tekakwitha Conference, the only Catholic Native American/Aboriginal Religious organization in North America. The Conference was founded in 1939. It promotes evangelization among one-half million Indigenous Catholics who are members of more than 300 tribes and nations in the United States and Canada.

Over the years, the Las Casas Board has invited members of the Dominican Family to join us in praying for her canonization. Thank you! Prayers have been answered. Sister Kateri Mitchell, SSA (Sister of St. Ann, Mohawk Nation), who serves on the Las Casas Board, is executive director of the Tekakwitha Conference. She is part of the planning committee for the canonization of Blessed Kateri. The Las Casas Board asks for your continued prayers for Sister Kateri and the planning committee as they make preparations to celebrate this long-awaited event.

It is interesting to note that the 73rd Annual Tekakwitha Conference to be held in Albany, New York, July 18–22, 2012 is scheduled to highlight a pilgrimage to Kateri’s beginnings in Auriesville and Fonda on July 21. This was planned well in advance of the announcement of the advancement of Blessed Kateri to sainthood.

To learn more about Las Casas: Dominicans in Ministry with Native Americans visit our web site.

Sister Diane Poplawski, OP (Racine) is president of the board of directors of Las Casas.