Last month, the Knights of Columbus donated $600,000 for the renovation and upkeep of Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine, the birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. At the time, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson was presented with a first-class relic of the Native American saint. This relic will be placed in an altar here at the Shrine, as we continue to construct our new worship space.
Kateri Tekakwitha was beatified by Saint John Paul II in 1980, and she was later canonized by Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI. On the occasion of her beatification, John Paul II said:
All of us are inspired by the example of this young woman of faith who died three centuries ago this year. We are all edified by her complete trust in the providence of God, and we are encouraged by her joyful fidelity to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In a true sense the whole Church, together with you, declares in the words of Saint Paul: “Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever.”
The Church has declared to the world that Kateri Tekakwitha is blessed, that she lived a life on earth of exemplary holiness and that she is now a member in heaven of the Communion of Saints who continually intercede with the merciful Father on our behalf.
Her beatification should remind us that we are all called to a life of holiness, for in Baptism God has chosen each one of us “to be holy and spotless and to live through love in his presence.” Holiness of life - union with Christ through prayer and works of charity - is not something reserved to a select few among the members of the Church. It is the vocation of everyone.
My brothers and sisters, may you be inspired and encouraged by the life of Blessed Kateri. Look to her for an example of fidelity; see in her a model of purity and love; turn to her in prayer for assistance. May God bless you as he blessed her. May God bless all the North American Indians of Canada and the United States.
The Church actually celebrated St. Kateri’s feast last week. Let us ask her to pray for us, that we may live out our vocations to holiness as she did.