This chapter explores the cult of Kateri Tekakwitha, the Mohawk maiden whose tremendous spiritual discipline (which included daily self-flagellation with tree branches, hot coals, and thorns) convinced Jesuit missionaries that Indians could be “holy” too. Since dying at age 24 in 1680, she—like Mother Julia in South Texas—hasn’t had a moment’s rest: she’s been causing miracles around the St. Lawrence River Valley (and beyond) ever since. In October 2012, she was canonized a Saint by the Vatican—the first Native American ever to be so. More than a thousand Mohawks flew to Rome to bear witness. In this chapter, the author joins the thousand who descended upon Kahnawake, the Mohawk Nation just south of Montreal, Quebec, where Kateri is buried, instead. There, at the Mission of Saint Francis Xavier, she meets an Algonquin woman who graduated from Indian Residential School and learns about the brutal legacies of Catholicism on Mohawk land.
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