102 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed
She died on April 7, 1680. Witnesses said her last words were, “Jesus, I
love you.” They also testified that the smallpox scars on her face vanished.
In death she was radiant and beautiful.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is the first North American Indian to be
declared Blessed. Her Feast Day is July 14. Along with St. Francis of Assisi,
she is the patroness of the environment and ecology. She is popularly
known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.”
Pope John Paul II addressed six hundred Native Americans on the
occasion of Kateri’s beatification. Noting that Blessed Kateri is a witness to
their faith, he said,
You have come to rejoice in the beatification of Kateri Tekakwitha.
It is a time to pause and give thanks to God for the unique culture
and rich human tradition which you have inherited, and for the
greatest gift anyone can receive, the gift of faith. (
[June 22, 1980]: 13)
The Holy Spirit works in the hearts of all who are baptized, but the
power of his gifts is most evident in the lives of extraordinary witnesses to
faith such as Blessed Kateri.
JESUS GIVES US THE TRANSFORMING SPIRIT
Just before his Ascension, Jesus said these words to the Apostles: “You
will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be
my witnesses in Jerusalem, [in all] Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of
the earth” (Acts 1:8).
These words of Christ to the Apostles are also addressed to each
believer. The Holy Spirit comes to us as a teacher of the meaning and
depth of Revelation. He also fills us with power, the grace to understand
the Church’s teachings and the wisdom to see how they apply to our
lives. Finally, the Spirit puts courage into our hearts so that we can wit-
ness what we believe to believer and unbeliever alike.
10 For more information about Blessed Kateri, see texts from the Tekakwitha Conference
National Center reprinted online atwww.cin.org .