This week I want to introduce you to Blessed Kateri, Lily of the Mohawks. I have made a necklace with her image to celebrate this Native American saint who awaits canonization. I have been drawn to her image in the garden surrounding Saint Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe, New Mexico, loving her story, which is seems so sad and is probably completely misunderstood.
That Kateri was a deeply spiritual woman attracted to the story of the wounded, rejected Christ and His grieving mother is not for me to dispute. Yet, the reasons for her rejection by her Mohawk peers when she became a Christian do not ring true to me. I believe the pain caused by the Missionaries, colonists and the White Man in general is the reason Kateri was ridiculed and marginalized by her people. How could one who knew the pain and sickness brought from Europe worship their God?
I believe Kateri's vision of Christ was in accord with her innate knowledge of The Holy that preceded her conversion. I believe there is "that of God in each one" and Blessed Kateri's gift was compassion and love not only for her own people, but for the conquerors who had so misunderstood Christ's teaching as to justify the destruction of an entire culture, a civilization with values and truth as viable as their own.
To wear this necklace if you're Native American is to celebrate the life of a great and compassionate ancestor Skin. If you are not Native American, perhaps it would serve as a reminder of the great souls that trod this Holy Ground before your ancestors came. May you walk softly, spread light and love and treasure the beauty all around you. Here, in honor of Kateri and her People is a reverent Mohawk Prayer:
Oh Great Spirit, Creator of all things;
Human Beings, trees, grass, berries.
Help us, be kind to us.
Let us be happy on earth.
Let us lead our children
To a good life and old age.
These our people; give them good minds
to love one another.
Oh Great Spirit,
Be kind to us.
Give these people the favor
to see green trees,
green grass, flowers and berries
This next spring;
So we all meet again
Oh Great Spirit,
We ask of you.