AURIESVILLE (AP) - Catholics in the Mohawk and Hudson valleys are celebrating the sainthood of a Native American woman who has been honored in the region for generations.
Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized Sunday morning at the Vatican, along with six other new saints.
Kateri, known as the "Lily of the Mohawks," will be the first American Indian saint. She was born in 1656 to a Catholic Algonquin mother and a Mohawk chief in a Mohawk village about 30 miles northwest of Albany. Scarred at a young age and made nearly blind by smallpox, she converted to Catholicism and later fled to a French Jesuit mission outside Montreal, where she died at 24 after falling ill.
The Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in New York's Mohawk Valley
(Photo — Bill Trojan, The Leader-Herald)
Masses were celebrated in her honor on Sunday at the National Kateri Shrine in Fonda, where she was baptized, and at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville. Native American musicians played at a mass for Saint Kateri at St. Margaret of Cortona Church in Rotterdam Junction, 25 miles west of Albany.
In Lagrangeville, 70 miles south of Albany, hundreds of parishioners filled Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Roman Catholic Church for a mass in Kateri's honor.