Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

Here’s what you need to know…

Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River.

She contracted smallpox in an epidemic as a girl. Her family died and her face was scarred.

She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen, and was renamed Kateri, baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena.

Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining 5 years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal.

Tekakwitha took a devout vow of perpetual virginity. She was known for her virtue of chastity and mortification.

Upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that minutes later her scars vanished and her face appeared radiant and beautiful. 

She is the fourth Native American to be venerated and the first to be canonized. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, ora pro nobis.

Happy Feast Day everybody!