RECEIVE THE HOLY
SPIRIT (Jn 20:22)
THE REVELATION OF THE SPIRIT, JOINT MISSION
OF SON AND SPIRIT
—CCC, NOS. 683-747
SHE WAS LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 at Ossernenon, a Mohawk village in
what is now Auriesville, New York. She was the daughter of a Mohawk chief
and a Christian Algonquin woman who had come to live among the
Mohawks after being captured at Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Kateri was four
years old when her parents and little brother died of smallpox. Kateri also
contracted the disease, which disfigured her face.Two aunts and an uncle
adopted her. The family moved to Caughnawaga, now Fonda, New York.
She proved to be an industrious young woman but showed no interest in
When she was in her teens, Jesuit missionaries came to her village.
She was attracted to Catholicism but experienced the opposition of her
family and the tribe. Fr. James de Lamberville began to meet with her
regularly, teaching her the faith and how to pray and open her heart to
God. In her twentieth year, she was baptized on Easter Sunday and was
given the name Catherine, or
in the Mohawk language.
Since the villagers showed so much hostility to her newfound faith,
she decided to leave home and go to a Christian colony of Indians near
Montreal. There she spent the remaining years of her life. She promised to
remain a virgin. She dedicated her life to prayer, penance, and care for
the aged and sick. Every morning at 4 a.m., she arrived at the local cha-
pel for Mass and contemplation. She was devoted to the Eucharist and
the mystery of the Cross.