"Lily of the Mohawk," 72"x35", © 1979 Norval Morrisseau
/Click on image to enlarge/
~ Note the inscription on the front of the canvas, bottom right (click HERE for an enlargement) which includes the title, date (year) and recognizable signature of the artist
>>> The above presented image of a Genuine Norval Morrisseau painting is currently part of the Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian* (NMAI); Formerly in the collection of R.E. Mansfield (1937-2007), donated to NMAI in 2003; Catalog number: 26/4095. * - the Smithsonian Institution
St. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 - 1680)
"Lily of the Mohawks"-
Kateri Tekakwitha also known as Catherine Tekakwitha/Takwita, was born in 1656 in Gandahouhague, on the south bank of the Mohawk River, in a village called Ossernenon. The Mohawks were known as the fiercest of the "Five Nations" of the Iroquois. War was waged between the Mohawks and Algonquins. Kateri's mother, a christian Algonquin, was taken captive by a Mohawk warrior and soon they were married. They had a happy life together and eventually had a girl. They named her Tekakwitha, which means "she who moves forward". When she was four years old, a smallpox epidemic claimed the lives of her parents and baby brother. Their names are unknown. Kateri survived the disease but her eyesight was impaired. Her face was scarred and the disease left her weak the rest of her life. After five years of the sickness, the survivors of the village moved to the north bank of the river to begin a new life. Tekakwitha and her relatives moved into the Turtle Clan village called Gandaouague.
She was then raised by aunts and an uncle, the Chief of the Turtle Clan.
In 1667 the Jesuit missionaries Fremin, Bruyas, and Pierron spent three days in the lodge of Tekakwutga's uncle. They had accompanied the Mohawk delegation who had been to Quebec to conclude peace with the French. From the Blackrobes she received her first knowledge of Christianity.
In 1670 the Blackrobes established St. Peter's Mission in Caughnawaga now Fonda, NY.
In 1674, Fr. James de Lamberville arrived to take charge of the mission which included the Turtle Clan.
Tekakwitha met Father de Lamberville when he visited her home. She told him about her desire to become baptized. Despite opposition to Christianity from her tribe and particularly her uncle, she met with the Blackrobe in secret. She began to take religious instructions. On Easter Sunday, April 5, 1676, at the age of 20, she was baptized and given the name Kateri, Indian for Katherine. Her family wanted her to abandon her religion. She became the subject of increased contempt from the people of her village for her conversion, as well as her refusal to work on Sundays or to marry. She practice her religion unflinchingly in the face of almost unbearable opposition. Finally her uncle's lodge ceased to be a place of protection to her.
With the help of Christian Indians she fled her village. Two months later and about two hundred miles through woods, rivers and swamps, Kateri arrived at the Sault.
On Christmas Day, 1677, Kateri received her first Holy Communion. Here she lived in the cabin of a Christian Indian, Mary Teresa Tegaiaguenta. She and Kateri became friends. Both girls performed extraordinary penance. Kateri and her friend asked permission to start a religious community. The request was denied.
At Caughnawaga she contributed to the community's economy while engaging in great personal sacrifices. She also continued to keep her personal vow of chastity.
In 1678, Kateri was enrolled in the pious society called The Holy Family because of her extraordinary practices of all virtues.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha died on April 17, 1680, when she was 24 years of age. When she died, much to the amazement of those in attendance, all the disfiguring scars on her face miraculously disappeared.
Pope John Paul II beatified her in Rome on June 22, 1980, in the presence of hundreds of North American Indians. She was then known as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
St. Tekakwitha died on April 17, 1680, when she was 24 years of age. In the past, we commemorated her Feast Day on the day of her death. April 17 often falls during the season of Lent or during Easter Week. When the Bishops of the United States gathered for their fall meeting in Washington, DC, in November 1982, they voted to change the day of observance of the Feast of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha to July 14th.
She was canonized on October 21st, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Feastday: July 14
Patron of the environment and ecology
1656 - April 17, 1680
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II
Canonized By: On 10/21/2012 by Pope Benedict XVI
>>> Reference information:
- ‘Lily of the Mohawks’ on brink of sainthood /www.thestar.com/
- Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks to be canonized /http://aptn.ca/
- Who is Kateri Tekakwitha, Canada's first aboriginal saint? CTV News
* The painting in this post: "Lily of the Mohawk", 72"x35", © 1979 Norval Morrisseau; Currently part of the Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI); Formerly in the collection of R.E. Mansfield (1937-2007), donated to NMAI in 2003; Catalog number: 26/4095.