Embracing the life and death of Jesus Christ transformed the life of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha (July 14, 2020): IS 7:1-9; PS 48:2-4,5-6,7-8; MT 11:20-24
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
Kateri was devoted to the Passion of Christ and His presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha whom we honor as patron of her own Native American people as well as a patron of the environment and ecology. Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother a Christian Algonquin who had been taken captive in what is now upstate New York. In 1660, when Tekakwitha was about four years old, an epidemic of smallpox killed her family and left her half-blind and badly scarred. Relatives raised her, but they discouraged her early interest in the message of the Catholic priests who visited them. She refused all efforts to make her marry even though this was usual among her people. Eventually, she converted and took the name Kateri, the Mohawk translation of Catherine. This disturbed her relatives and neighbors and, fearing for her safety, a Jesuit priest sent her to a mission for Christian converts south of Montreal. There Kateri grew spiritually with the advice and example of her fellow Catholics. She said, “Who will teach me what is most pleasing to God, that I may do it?”
Kateri was devoted to the Passion of Christ and His presence in the Blessed Sacrament. She spent her days in charitable acts, especially care of the elderly and sick, penitential practices and intense prayer. She also took a vow of chastity. Her health began to grow more and more fragile and she died in April, 1680. Her last words were, “Jesus, I love you.” We can look to St. Kateri Tekakwitha is an example of someone who suffered to first embrace and then live out her faith. We, too, can commit ourselves to Christ our Savior in all we do at home and in our community through prayer and generous service.
Suggested missionary action: Let us ask St. Kateri Tekakwitha to guide our concern for the environment and our efforts to care for God’s good earth and all its creatures – as well as the needs of our neighbors in need especially in these trying times.