Born in 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon near Auriesville, New York, Kateri Tekakwitha was named as one of the seven new saints to be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI next October. Kateri was the daughter of Kenneronkwa, a Mohawk chief, and Tagaskouita, a Roman Catholic Algonquian.
At the age of four, smallpox swept through Ossernenon, rendering her an orphan with a scarred face and poor eyesight. Baptized at the age of 20, she fled persecution and landed in Kahnawake, Quebec. There, she dedicated her life to prayer and caring for the sick and elderly, but died soon after at the age of 24. Several miraculous events have been said to have occurred through her intercession. The first Aboriginal to be sainted, she is also remembered as The Lily of the Mohawks. Her grave stone reads, “The fairest flower that ever bloomed among red men.”