By popular request (!) today we celebrated the life of St Kateri Tekakwitha at Mass at church today. Here, Ginny, parish assistant, tells us something about her:
St Kateri Tekakwitha was named a saint only yesterday. She is the first Aboriginal saint of the United States or Canada. Her example is not only relevant to Native people, but it also can speak to us living in Victoria Park.
Born into a Mohawk village in New York in 1656, Kateri lived in a time of great cultural diversity and change. European colonisation was negatively affecting Native people through illness and warfare, and Kateri and other Native people were learning how to discern God’s presence in this constantly changing environment full of hardship. When the Jesuits spoke to her people of Catholicism, they related Christianity to Mohawk concepts. Kateri herself converted to Christianity. In 1680, she died at the age of 24, having lived a short life of devotion to God.
At St Chrysostom’s and in our world, people from many different viewpoints and cultures meet together every day. One of the challenges we face as Christians is discerning God’s presence in the people we meet. Many people pray to God through Kateri for physical healing, but her example also can teach us about healing the cultural, religious, and political rifts between us. God can work through us, and it is important, like Kateri, that we work to discover His presence amongst us every day.