Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kateri Tekakwitha

April 17 is the birthday of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, daughter of a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin woman, born near what is today Auriesville, New York.  Kateri contracted smallpox at a young age which left her permanently scarred, and as one biographer tells it:  "Her smallpox face led to her being a spinster and having a personality disorder." - Source  Enough said for me to like her.

Fortunately I had been acquainted with Blessed Kateri as a young boy.  Her reputation for sanctity, including her penance and works of charity amongst her people captured my imagination, much in the same way as had the example set by St. Rose of Lima and St. Mariana of Quito.  Though very young when I first developed a devotion to Bl. Kateri, the fact she had been scorned and rejected by her tribesmen, all the while accepting it as a grace from God and a penance, made a deep impression upon me.  Kateri's example and prayers helped me understand how to bear the trials of my childhood with confidence in God.  

The art I have chosen to illustrate Blessed Kateri is from the tapestries of The Communion of Saints by John Navo at the Cathedral of Los Angeles.  I know I'm not supposed to like the Cathedral, but I do, and I especially love the artwork - from the doors to these exquisite tapestries.
Art: Communion of Saints Tapestry: St.s John Baptist de la Salle, Paul Chong Hasang, Moses the Ethiopian, Kateri Tekakwitha, Thomas Moore.  Thanks to Paul Snatchko Blog


  1. +JMJ+

    What a hauntingly beautiful tapestry! It's clearly in the tradition of the richly colourful and bright "Communion of Saints" depictions from earlier times, but also contains a kind of subdued, sober realism from our own age. Thank you for featuring it, Terry.

    PS--Now I'm sorry to bring the tone of my comment down (or maybe not really), but I have to remark on my verification word: gaiest!

  2. After over 300 years, they need to make her "St. Kateri", I think the requisite miracles have been in place for awhile. I always think of my younger sister in connection with Bl. Kateri. She was "Bl. Kateri" for the grade school Halloween party. She looked the part, too, had long dark braids, and Mom made her a cute little fake buckskin outfit. After that Bl. Kateri sort of became her patron saint.
    I like the Communion of Saints tapestry, too.

  3. Enbrethiliel - that stuff happens to me all of the time - I was thinking of making a sort of cult thing out of word verification - you know, like "signs". When evil words come up they mean this or that about the blog, post, or commenter. It could be like the Ouiji board or something. LOL!

    Melody - I can't understand why she isn't canonized yet either.

  4. I love the painting, although Saint Paul Chong Hasang would have had a bread and a top-not. He looks like a modern Korean, which I guess is the idea, and is not a bad one.

  5. "Roza Ferox"2:26 PM

    Today is also the birthday of Mary Pyle, aka Mary the American. She was St. Padre Pio's closest spiritual daughter, or some would say, spiritual sister. A convert and wealthy heiress, Mary was told by Padre Pio that she was to remain in San Giovanni Rotundo when she went there in 1923. So she left her post with Maria Montessori, built a home by the monastery where Padre Pio spent about 50 years of his life, and assisted many. She particularly would be asked by her many house guests to "ask Padre Pio for me".... So she would, and she'd give the answers upon her return from confession with Padre Pio, which happened every ten days. Mary Pyle died April 26, 1968 after she was taken on her birthday, April 17, to the hospital that Padre Pio instigated and through him was built by many donors.

    Last night I asked Mary the American to please ask Padre Pio what I am to do about a most painful situation going on in my physical and spiritual life now, as the spiritual is far worse than anything I've had to endure. I need answers, and I counting on having some, some way or how, today. Happy Birthday Mary Pyle, and Happy Feast Day, Bl. Kateri Tekawitha.

  6. "Roza Ferox"2:53 PM

    Oh, I forgot an apostrophe and "m", plus it is Bl. Kateri's birthday, not feast day! Guess the spiritual pain has gone to the brain.

  7. I keep praying for her sainthood. If you are doing a work with Bl Kateri I'd love to see it in person!

    /me inviting myself to your house.

    Wait, why bother, I'll just look in the windows like I always do!

  8. Thank you for sharing the tapestry with us...learned a bit more about some unfamiliar saints :)


  9. Cath - I wasn't planning a work just thinking about it - I like some old illustrations of her appering after her death - I'd like to work something out like that. I would also like ro have her hair unbraided - I never liked braided hair.

  10. Well Terry--you don't have to worry about my hair braided--I got it cut short enough today that I can just barely put it into a pony tail (for gym)...:) just skims the collarbones :)


  11. That tapestry is just beautiful.
    Thanks, Terry, for broadening my horizons.
    I've had a terrible prejudice against the Cathedral in LA.
    I have learned a bit here, also.
    As an aside, we have a stained glass window with Bl. Kateri here in our rural parish church where we presently live; the church was built in the early '40s but the Pastor put windows of the "American saints"...a bit ahead of his time.
    The Shrine of OL of Guadalupe also has the relics, I believe, of Bl. Kateri and Bl. Augustin Pro in the altar.
    She is a great saint for our times and our nation.

  12. I love those tapestries so much. I thought I was the only one who felt guilty for liking the cathedral.


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