St. Kateri Tekakwitha is a wonderful example of holiness for young people, according to Matthew Bunson, co-author of Saint Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks (OSV, 2012) and editor of the Catholic Almanac. In a recent interview with Rome Reports, Bunson discussed the inspiring life of the first Native American saint, who was canonized Oct. 21 by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
Kateri Tekakwitha was the daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Catholic mother. She contracted smallpox as a toddler – a disease that swept through her village – claiming her family and leaving her severely disfigured and half-blind. Drawn to the Catholic faith by the Bible stories and teachings of the French Jesuits, Kateri amazed them by her perfection of the virtues, her mystical prayer life, and her total love for Christ. She died in 1680 at the young age of 24.