Pope Benedict XVI has announced the canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha who was the first Native American to be beatified. Tekakwitha was born at Ossernenon, which today is near Auriesville, New York, USA. Tekakwitha’s father was a Mohawk chief and her mother was a Catholic Algonquin. Tekakwitha’s baptismal name is Catherine, which in the Iroquois languages is Kateri. She is honored by the Catholic Church as the patroness of ecology, nature, and the environment.
Also to be canonized is Blessed Mother Marianne Cope who began a religious life that focused on providing medical care in central New York and the Hawaiian islands.
On Dec. 20, Pope Benedict XVI certified miracles attributed to the two women, the final step toward sainthood. The women’s canonization is expected to happen this year. When they are elevated to sainthood, they’ll be among just 12 of the Catholic Church’s thousands of saints who either were born in America or ministered in what is now the United States.