Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, also known as "Lily of the Mohawks," was born in 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon (present-day Auriesville, New York). She was the daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Catholic Algonquin mother.
At the age of four, Kateri contracted smallpox, which left her with scarring on her face and weakened eyesight. As a result, she was considered a "marked woman" in her village. Despite this, she grew up to be a devout Catholic and was known for her piety and devotion to prayer.
In 1675, Kateri converted to Catholicism and was baptized by French Jesuit missionary Father Claude Chauchetiere. She was the first Native American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Her canonization was on 21 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Kateri's devotion to her faith led her to leave her village and move to the mission village of Caughnawaga (present-day Fonda, New York) to live with other Christian converts. There, she lived a life of piety and devotion, dedicating herself to prayer and acts of charity.
Kateri died on April 17, 1680, at the age of 24. Her death was considered miraculous by those who knew her, as she had not been ill and her body remained incorrupt for many years after her death.
She is considered a patron saint of the environment, ecology, Native Americans and World Youth Day. The feast of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is celebrated on July 14.
Today, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is revered by Catholics and Native Americans alike for her devotion to her faith and her commitment to living a virtuous life. She is an inspiration for all those who seek to live a life of holiness and service to others.