1656 - 1680
First native American saint
Tekakwitha means “She who gropes her way along” in the Iroquois language
The daughter of an Iroquois chief, Kateri Tekakwitha lost her whole family when she was four years old, consequent on a smallpox epidemic. Her own eyesight was impaired, and her face disfigured.
Persecuted by her tribe because of her Catholic beliefs and her refusal to be married, she left her village and went to New France, where she was baptized and became a Christian. Her piety impressed the Jesuits. She had adopted the practice of corporal mortification, and because of her fragile health, she would die at the age of 24. She was canonized in Rome on October 21, 2012, thus becoming the first Amerindian saint.
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