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New Statue of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Unveiled at Saint Paul University

On October 21, 2019, Saint Paul University unveiled a new statue of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Indigenous woman elevated to sainthood.

“The statue of Saint Kateri is an important addition to our campus chapel,” said Chantal Beauvais, rector of Saint Paul University. “Not only does it recognize a woman of faith, but a courageous woman who felt drawn to a path that included both the Mohawk and Catholic ways.”

The unveiling took place after a commemorative mass for the canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. In celebration of her heritage, the mass included a smudging ceremony, a drumming circle and hymns in Indigenous languages.

To create the statue, the University received a donation to commission Stephen McComber, a Mohawk sculptor based out of Kahnawake. McComber hand-carved the statue out of balsam, a species of evergreen common to the Kahnawake region.

The statue remains on display in the De Mazenod Chapel.


About Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Tekakwitha was born in 1656 to a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin mother. At the age of four, she and her family contracted smallpox; her mother, father and younger brother died during the outbreak.

At the age of 19, she converted to Catholicism and took the name Catherine (Kateri being the Mohawk form of the name). Upon her conversion, she took a vow of chastity and devoted herself to her faith. Kateri died at the age of 24 on April 17, 1680.

Saint Kateri was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and was canonized by Pope Benedict on October 21, 2012.


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