Kateri Tekakwitha, also known as "Lily of the Mohawks" was born in New York in 1656 to a Mohawk chief father and a Catholic Algonquin mother. When Kateri was 4 years old a smallpox epidemic took the life of her parents and brother, which also left her partially blind and crippled. Her early memories of her mother's Catholic stories piqued her interest in the Jesuit missionaries that lived near her village. At the age of 20 she was baptised by a Jesuit missionary. Her baptismal name is "Catherine" which translates "Kateri". Following her conversion her life was threatened, and she fled to a Jesuit mission in Montreal where she lived a life of prayer and penance. People loved to be around her because her soul reflected the beauty and peace of God. Kateri Tekawitha was canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. She is the patroness of the environment, ecology, and nature. This painting of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was a commissioned project using a young Native American woman as a model.
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