St. Kateri was known for her humility, kindness, charity, and intense devotion to prayer and sacrifice. Two characteristics that stand out, however, are that she meditated continuously on the “immense dignity of being baptized,” and the joy which this produced within her.** She was ridiculed for her appearance and her near-blindness as well as for her desire to live as a virgin, unheard of in Mohawk culture. But none of this dampened her joy in knowing, loving, and serving Jesus as taught to her by the Jesuits. She had come to understand that baptism was an extraordinary gift, bringing her the dignity of being loved by God despite her disfigurement or her disabilities. Her response to this great gift was to offer kindness to others and to offer penances as prayer for the conversion of her people. She suffered greatly, yet she was filled with the joy of God’s presence and with deep gratitude for being so loved by Him. An amazing testimony to the grace of spiritual joy within Kateri is that within a few minutes after her death her face became quite beautiful as she was totally healed of all the pockmarks and scars, and a smile crept onto her lips.
©Michele L. Catanese
Notes: Next post on July 30.
* This definition is found in the Catholic Encyclopedic Dictionary found in the back of the New American Bible Revised Edition.
** This information was taken from Franciscan Media found at https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-kateri-tekakwitha/
For more on St. Kateri, including the site where I found the meaning of her name, go to:
1. My husband Tony took this photo in an outdoor market in Siracusa, Sicily. I chose it here as a representation of the bounty of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
2. I took this photo while on an airboat on a trip up the Rees River in the Glenorchy area, north of Queenstown, New Zealand. I chose it here as an example of a spot where I truly felt that "God is in this place."
3. This icon is St. Teresa of Avila, by Fr. William Hart McNichols. I felt it was appropriate to present this icon here since it depicts St. Teresa in ecstasy. The hands are God's hands, a reference to her famous words saying that the only hands God has now are ours. You can find the icon, and purchase a copy in one of many mediums if you so desire, at http://frbillmcnichols-sacredimages.com/featured/st-teresa-of-avila-177-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
4. This is a photo of a stained glass window which I took at the Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, Israel. It shows the moment after Mary greeted Elizabeth. Elizabeth has one hand pointing toward Mary's womb, indicating that she, and her baby who had 'leapt', had recognized the special Child within Mary's womb: there is great joy in this image as they all know they are in the presence of God.
5. This is another of the icons of Fr. William Hart McNichols, called The Apparition of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. While this image of St. Kateri depicts an apparition of her after her death, it is nonetheless appropriate here. It shows her face clear, as she looked after death, but I particularly liked that instead of the usual halo around her head, there are rays which speak of the joy of being in the presence of the Holy, and perhaps the spiritual joy which she experienced during her life. You can find the image at frbillmcnichols-sacredimages.com/featured/the-apparition-of-st-kateri-tekakwitha-192-william-hart-mcnichols.html
6. I took this photo in the gardens at Larnach Castle near Dunedin, New Zealand. I loved the beauty of the butterfly which spoke to me of joy. God is present in simplicity and beauty.
7. This painting is Still Life with Peaches and Pears, by Paul Cezanne. (1888-90) I love the impressionist artists, but sometimes we get so caught up in their landscapes and outdoor scenes, that we forget their wonderful still life paintings. Again, it is the simplicity of the peaches and pears, sitting atop a simple wooden table on a tea towel which is evident; it seems like a scene which could be present in any ordinary kitchen. God is present in the ordinary, making even the simplest places and times extraordinary.
(In remembrance of Max Finney whose joy was contagious. Rest in Peace!)
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