VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI formally recognized a miracle attributed to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha on Dec. 19, clearing the way for her to be canonized.
Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” Blessed Kateri was born in 1656 in upstate New York. Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother was an Algonquin who was raised Catholic.
A smallpox epidemic killed both of her parents and left her with poor eyesight and a badly disfigured face at a young age.
Despite objections from her relatives, she was baptized at age 20, after meeting several Catholic priests. An outcast from her community, Kateri lived a life of deep prayer, with a strong devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
She died in 1680 at the age of 24. Witnesses said that the scars on her face disappeared after her death.
Kateri was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980, the first Native American to be declared blessed.
Pope Benedict formally recognized the decree for canonization of Blessed Marianne Cope too.