Kateri Tekakwitha
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Kateri Tekakwitha

Teaching about our first Native American saint

On October 21, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI will canonize the first American Indian Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha  (joining St. Juan Diego of Mexico, the first indigenous saint of North America).

The canonization offers a teachable moment for young people to learn more about this Saint connected with our history. It is also an opportunity to explore the role of saints in the life of the church.

Use the resources below for study, teaching and prayer.*



“Pope Advances Sainthood Causes of Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha”
Carol Glatz of Catholic News Service. December 19, 2011.

“Canonization: Recognizing and Proclaiming a Saint”
Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. At www.pflaum.com, click “PGW Online Activities”, log in (free to register), and click “Catholic Culture.”

“The Path to Canonization”
Patricia Mathson in Catechist Magazine. March 2009.

Activities & Lesson Plans

Discovering the First Native American Saint of the Church: Kateri Tekakwitha (PDF)
Kateri Tekakwitha - 1865-1880 - Powerpoint (PPT)
Discovering the First native American Saint - Word (DOC)
Susan Searle, Center for Ministry Development, 2012.

“Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Native American Saint.”
A story with four activities by Patricia Mathson in Catechist Magazine. October, 2012.

“Footsteps of American Saints: Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.”
National Catholic Committee on Scouting, Boy Scouts of America. Girls or boys can earn the patch.

“Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha: First Beatified Native American.”
Lesson plan from the Mission Office of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Vida de Santos: Beata Kateri Tekakwitha
Sadlier Religion; A story with primary & intermediate activities.

Lives of the Saints: Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
Sadlier Religion; A story with primary & intermediate activities.

“A Play: Lily of the Mohawks: Kateri Tekakwitha.”
Loyola Press.

“St. Kateri Tekakwitha”  A coloring page.
Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. Go to www.pflaum.com, click “PGW Online Activities”, log in (free to register), and click “Promise (Grades K-1).”

“Introducing Two New Saints.”
A story by Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. Go to www.pflaum.com, click “PGW Online Activities”, log in (free), and click “Saints of the Season.”

“St. Kateri Tekakwitha” A story with pictograms.
Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. Go to www.pflaum.com, click “PGW Online Activities”, log in (free), and click “Good News (Grades 2-3).”

“St. Kateri’s Totem”  A story with cut & paste activity.
 Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. Go to www.pflaum.com, click “PGW Online Activities”, log in (free), and click “Venture (Grades 4-6).”

“St. Kateri Tekakwitha” A story with tic-tac-toe activity. 
Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. Go to www.pflaum.com, click “PGW Online Activities”, log in (free), and click “Visions (Grades 7-8).”

“Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha” in Exploring Saints and Feast Days with Young Adolescents by Jenni Vankat. St. Mary’s Press, 2007. A lesson plan containing ice breaker, story, activities, prayers, and community connections.

Prayer Service

“Prayer Service Honoring St. Kateri Tekakwitha”
Patricia Mathson from Catechist Magazine.

Audio & Video

“Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha: A Model of the First Evangelization and of the New Evangelization.”  
Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., Salt + Light Television (16:00).

“Blessed Kateri”
Narrated by Father John Paret, SJ, Father Victor Hoagland, CP, and Eleonora Centrone (6:00). Footage from Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville, New York, birthplace of Kateri Tekakwitha. Also includes the story of Kateri and a Litany.

“A Boy, An Injury, A Recovery, A Miracle?”
NPR’s Morning Edition by Barbara Bradley Haggerty. April 22, 2011 (7:46). Covers second miracle for Kateri’s canonization. Blessed John Paul II waived the required first miracle in order to beatify Kateri in 1980.

In Her Footsteps: The Story of Kateri Tekakwitha
Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, 2012.

“Mixed Reactions to First Native American Saint.”
 From NPR’s Tell Me More host Michel Martin and guest Brian Bull. February 15, 2012 (6:47).

“Those Devoted to Blessed Kateri 'Walking on Air' about Canonization”
Katherine Long of Catholic News Service. February 23, 2012. Offers a contrasting view to the above.

"Kateri Tekakwitha: A Healer's Saint"
Video and study guide.  Kateri Television, Canada (6:45).


Stories & Books

“Three Qualities of Kateri Tekakwitha”
Bishop Hubbard on Catholic Information Network (CIN).

“Kateri Tekakwitha and Marianne Cope: Two New American Saints” by Carol Ann Morrow.
A Catholic Update from Franciscan Media. Order.

“America’s Two Newest Saints”
Matthew Bunson for The Priest, October 1, 2012.

“Profiles in Faith: Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha” 
Black and Indian Mission Office.

Kateri: Native American Saint: The Life and Miracles of Kateri Tekakwitha by Giovanna Paponetti.
Published by Clear Light Pub, 2010. Hardcover, 56 pages. A commemorative canonization edition with optional autograph can be purchased online.
Book illustrations are also available online as a slide show and prints can be purchased.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Lily of the Mohawks by Matthew and Margaret Bunson.
Published by Our Sunday Visitor, 2012. Paperback, 240 pages.

Kateri Tekakwitha by Ron Zeilinger.
Published by Tipi Press, 1985. Pamphlet, 12 pages. Text available online or Purchase.


“Are You Teaching the Real Story of the ‘First Thanksgiving?”
Gary Hopkins, Education World. Gives guidance on teaching about Native Americans, specifically regarding class skits.

“Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs” in Auriesville, New York.
Kateri Tekakwitha was born here, in the village of Ossernenon in 1656. Take the “Virtual Tour!”

“National Shrine of Kateri Tekakwitha” in Fonda, New York. Kateri lived here, in the village of Caughnawaga (“By the Rapids”), for most of her life (ages 10/11 to 20/21 or from 1666 to 1677). She was baptized here with water from the spring which still flows today. Also the site of the only fully excavated Mohawk village of that era. Take the “Shrine Tour.”

“Saint Francis Xavier Mission and Fort St. Louis”
Kateri fled Caughnawaga in present day New York to a mission at Sault St. Louis / Kahnawake, outside present day Montreal. She lived at the mission for 3-4 years until her death in 1680 at age twenty-four. The site houses her remains and a museum with the earliest known painting of Kateri.

“Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center”
Kateri is the patron saint of ecology.  This site has a collection of writings from a variety of Catholic sources, including "Blessed Kateri – Model Ecologist."

“Congregation of the Great Spirit”
Roman Catholic American Indian Parish in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Located at 1000 W. Lapham Blvd. in Milwaukee. Join them for Sunday Mass at 10 AM. Check out the Photos!

“Formation of Kateri Circles”
Kateri Circles (both adult and youth) are groups of parishioners who try to emulate the life of Kateri Tekakwitha. Their mission is spiritual, social, and educational. They exist under the auspices of the Tekakwitha Conference. Find Kateri Circles. Read Guidelines.

On the Saints

The Communion of Saints
Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Biography of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Tekakwitha was born among Mohawk people in the Turtle Clan (c. 1656). Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother was Algonquin and a Christian. She was born in the village of Ossernenon (now Auriesville, New York). When she was about four years old, she lost her parents and siblings to a small pox epidemic. Kateri survived, but she was left with a scarred face and weak eyes. She was adopted by her uncle and spent most of her life in the nearby village of Caughnawaga (now Fonda, New York). When Tekakwitha was about twelve years old, Jesuit missionaries, the Blackrobes, came to the village. Tekakwitha heard them speak about Jesus and her heart was moved. Eventually she asked for baptism. At the age of twenty, she was baptized and given the name Kateri, after Saint Catherine of Siena. She suffered many hardships – the loss of her parents, her physical limitations, and ridicule for her choices to remain unmarried and become a Christian. About a year later, she felt compelled to leave her home and journey to the mission at St. Francis Xavier of Sault St. Louis (outside Montreal, Canada). There she made her First Communion and later took a vow of perpetual virginity. She was devoted to God, especially in creation and in the Eucharist. She also cared for the sick, practiced penance, and told wonderful stories. At the age of twenty-four, she became ill and died (c. 1680). At her death, the scars on her face disappeared and she was radiant. Her last words were, “Jesus, I love you.”

Kateri Tekakwitha's feast day is July 14. She is the patron saint of ecology and of those who have lost their parents. She is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.”

*Resources compiled and annotated by Liz Kuhn, Director of Religious Education, Christ King Parish.


This page includes links that direct the user to internet sites sponsored by third parties.  These links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes; they do not constitute an endorsement by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.  The Archdiocese is not responsible for the accuracy, legality or appropriateness of content on external sites.


Kateri Tekakwitha

O God,
who desired the Virgin
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
to flower among Native
Americans in a life of innocence,
grant, through her intercession,
that when all are gathered into
your Church from every nation,
tribe and tongue,
they may magnify you
in a single canticle of praise.

- from the Roman Missal


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