Kateri Tekakwitha - Mohawk Maiden
By Evelyn M. Brown
Ignatius Press | 182 pp | $9.95
Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Entertainment. Discussion »
It is estimated that up to 20 percent - or 680,000 - of American Indians are practicing Roman Catholics in the United States.
This weekend they are celebrating the elevation of Kateri Tekakwitha to sainthood level in a canonization ceremony to be performed by Pope Benedict XVI tomorrow at the Vatican.
Thousands of American Indians have journeyed to the Vatican to observe the canonization ceremony. Those who were unable to travel to Rome will be able to participate in services around Indian Country in recognition of this momentous occasion at various Catholic churches.
“Kateri's life is a witness not only to the cost of discipleship - she bore a great deal of suffering for her faith among her own people - but also to its fruitfulness,”
said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, chairman of the of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on Native American Affairs.
“She reminds us that Jesus came for all people in every age, but especially for the lowly, whom God loves in a special way.”
Kateri Tekakwitha, born in 1656, was a young Mohawk woman whose parents died in a small pox epidemic between 1661 and 1663. She was adopted by an Indian leader, who adamantly opposed Christianity. Introduced to Catholicism by Jesuit missionaries in 1667, she was later baptized and, facing persecution from her people, fled to a Jesuit mission south of Montreal.
There she founded an informal association of devout women devoted to penance. She died April 17, 1680 at a young age of 24. She was affectionately known as the "Lily of the Mohawks."
Her story is told in "Kateri Tekakwitha - Mohawk Maiden," a book that was first published in 1958 and was republished in 1991. The short book was authored by Evelyn M. Brown, who laces the book with Mohawk words.
The book is written for young people who are 9 year olds to 15 year olds, with a narrative adults will enjoy. Written with simplicity, the reader will come away appreciating how Kateri overcame adversities in her short life.
Given the time period it was first written, some readers may resist the style in which the book is written when referring to American Indians. One prime example is how Brown refers to American Indian women as "squaws," a term that it considered derogatory in today's writings.
The style of writing should not dissuade those interested in the rich and short life of Kateri Tekakwitha from reading this book though. There are enough positives in the book that provides the reader with enough reasons to disregard the style of writing offered by the author.
Those who are not acquainted with why a Mohawk woman from the 1660s will become sainted by the Catholic Church should read "Kateri Tekakwitha - Mohawk Maiden" to better understand why.
For the thousands of American Indians who for decades for the honor being bestowed Kateri Tekakwitha this weekend, this book will provide a nice review her life.
posted October 20, 2012 7:57 am edt