St Kateri is the first Native American recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. She was born in 1656 in a Mohawk tribe in Canada. When she was just four years old, her tribe suffered a smallpox outbreak, in which all of Kateri’s family were killed. She was then raised by her uncle, the chief of their tribe.
Kateri was a very skilled and diligent worker, but she refused to marry. This earned her many punishments from her adoptive parents. When Kateri was 19, she converted to Christianity, taking the vow of chastity. As she was looked down upon in her community, she was forced to move to Montreal. Kateri practices many different forms of self mortification as a sacrifice to God, including sleeping in thorns and burning herself. She was very devout and prayed steadfastly for the conversion of the rest of her tribe.
Unfortunately, probably due to her far from healthy practices in the name of Jesus, Kateri fell ill in just 5 years, and died at the age of 24.
St Kateri Tekakwitha is the patron saint of the environment, as well as those in exile and Native Americans.
Lord God, You called the virgin Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, to shine among the American Indian people as an example of innocence of life. Through her intercession, may all peoples of every tribe, tongue and nation, having been gathered into Your Church, proclaim your greatness in one song of praise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen