St. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. Her entire family died during the outbreak. Kateri Tekakwitha was subsequently raised by her uncle, who was the chief of a Mohawk clan. At age 19, Kateri Tekakwitha converted to Catholicism, taking a vow of chastity, and pledging to marry only Jesus Christ. Her decision was very unpopular with her adoptive parents and their neighbors. Some of her neighbors started rumors of sorcery. To avoid persecution, she traveled to a Christian native community south of Montreal. Kateri was very devout and was known for her steadfast devotion. She was also very sickly. Her practices of self-mortification and denial may not have helped her health. St. Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 21, 2012. She is the patroness of ecology and the environment, people in exile and Native Americans."
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
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