Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kateri Tekawitha: In her, faith and culture enrich each other

Along with 6 others, Kateri Tekawitha was raised to the altar today by none other than the Holy Father himself. Kateri was a member of the Mohawk nation. She was baptized when she was 20 years old. She died at age 24. From the time of her baptism until her death, she worked at St. Francis Xavier Mission near Montréal, Canada.

It is precisely because Christ seeks to make us who God created and redeemed us to be that the only way we can really follow Him, be His disciples, is to be fully ourselves, which is why in his homily at today's Canonization Mass, BXVI said,
Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are. Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America! May God bless the first nations!
Too often we make mistake being faithful to conforming ourselves to a faulty idea of what it means to be holy. Despite all of the cookie-cutter hagiographies of yesteryear, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more diverse group of people than the saints.

St. Kateri Tekawitha, pray for us!


  1. Deacon Scott,
    First off, I want to thank you for your blog, I discovered it by accident about a year ago and have been an avid reader ever since. Your posts have helped me tremendously on my spiritual journey back to the Church and faith in God.
    This post raises a specific question I have struggled to find a satisfying and consistent answer to. What exactly is the Catholic position with regards to the salvation of those who lived in North and South America pre-Columbus (and christian missionaries). And more broadly all those who lived before Christ and were outside the Jewish faith. I have heard some anti-christian arguments that say Christ redemption of mankind came at a relatively late date in human history leaving many people in the dark before him. I was curious about your thoughts on these points.

  2. Drew:

    Sorry it has taken me a few days to answer your question. The question you ask goes all the way back to St. Paul's Letter to the Romans. The apostle talks about a law written on our hearts, which we would call the natural law. One of the best, meaning most simple and straightforward explanations of this is given by C.S. Lewis right at the beginning of 'Mere Christianity' in the form of an example of what is just and how we inherently know when something unjust, which we typically call "unfair" occurs. Insofar as people who could not possibly know Christ adhere to this in good conscience, they are saved. Of course, even their salvation is wrought by Christ, without Whom there would be no salvation.

    Given that this is the Year of Faith, during which we commemorate and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, it seems appropriate to turn to that Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium: "Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel."

    I hope that helps.
    Dcn Scott

  3. I should've cited the passage from Romans- 2:12-16

    The passage from Mere Christianity is Book I chapter 1 "The Law of Human Nature"

    1. Thanks for your response, it helped a lot.