Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, patroness saint of ecology, nature, and the environment. Kateri was born in 1656, in Ossernonan. At birth Kateri Tekakwitha was given the name Catherine, or Kateri in Iroquois languages.
Kateri Tekakwitha became an orphan at age 4 when her village got attacked by smallpox and her family died, including her parents and her baby brother. After being weakened, scarred and partially blind, she survived. Her 2 aunts and uncle, the Kanienkehaka chief then adopted her.
Because Kateri was not baptized as an infant and at age eighteen Father de Lambertville, a Jesuit missionary, baptized her. Her family did not accept her choice to embrace Jesus Christ. Her family refused to feed her on Sundays when she did not work and do chores. Since her life’s rougher times she devoted her life to God. Kateri fled her life in the village and ran 200 mi through woods, swamps, and rivers to the Catholic mission of St. Francis Xavier at Sault Saint-Louis, near Montreal.
At the mission she taught the young and help those in the village that were poor, sick, or injured. Her motto became, “Who can tell me what is most pleasing to God that I may do it?" She then made her own chapel in the woods by craving a cross into a tree and spent time to say a prayer there, kneeling the snow.
When poor health, which plagued her throughout her life, led to her death in 1680 at the age of 24. Her last words were, “Jesus, I love you”. On December 19, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree necessary for canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. She will be canonized on October 21, 2012.
I learn in this essay that most people are luckier then they think and should not be selfish about it. The very worst times in your life could be even worse in someone else’s life. The rougher times in life are there to make you stronger, not to punish you.
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