Marie Teresa, an Indian Christian, had come with her husband to live in the La Prairie Mission. They decided with their nephew to join a group of Iroquois consisting of 4 men, 4 women and 3 children on the winter hunt.
They were caught unprepared by a storm which covered everything and sent animals into hiding. Unable to find food, the women boiled skins, tree bark and searched for vegetation under the snow but to no avail; they were starving. Marie Theresa's husband fell ill and soon died. Two of the men went ahead hoping to find food. One returned well fed and everyone knew that he had killed and eaten his companion. The warriors began to consider the killing of a woman and her two children. When they asked her opinion on the matter, Marie kept quiet, fearing that she also would be killed with her nephew. The woman and her children were killed and their bodies served as food. Marie Theresa became half hysterical, begging God for forgiveness. Only five survived the ordeal. Marie confessed her sins to the shocked priest and Marie resolved to live a truly Christian life.
In 1678, Marie confided this event to Kateri. Kateri, seeing her honesty and sincere desire to live a virtuous life, opened up her heart and they became close friends.
The supernatural love of Christ in her soul brought about a transfiguration in her life.
In her appeared a willingness to suffer. On Sundays and Holy days she would not work and on those days she was not given food to eat. She was jeered in the streets and children threw stones at her calling her "the Christian" in a demeaning manner. She was falsely accused of having sinful relations with a hunter during the winter hunt. Through all this she prayed, accepted her suffering with patience and heroic fortitude for the sake of Christ who died for her.
At the Canadian Mission she went to church every morning at four o'clock and in winter she walked bare footed through the snow to get there. Each day she participated in two Masses and often visited the Blessed Sacrament. Kateri went to confession weekly and prepared for it by going into the woods, flogging her shoulders with branches and crying over her sins. Kateri spent her days teaching prayers to children, helping the sick and aged until her death. She became a model of humility, devotion, sweetness, charity and other virtues.
Kateri suffered throughout her life from headaches, frequent fevers, an unsettled stomach and weak eyes and the penances she took upon herself. All of this brought Kateri's life to an end on Wednesday of Holy Week in 1680 at the age of 24. Fifteen minutes after her death, her face which had been disfigured by sickness and austerities became beautiful, reflecting the glory of God in her soul. From that day Indians and others have prayed to her and many cures have been reported. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared her Blessed which means she is in heaven.
Blessed Lily of the Mohawks
by Henthorne-Diamond and Jean Todd
played by Bro. Renatus Foldenauer, CSC
Blessed Li-ly of he Mo-hawks, Fair-rest flower
of the red-man.
Heav-y heart with_loss of kin, __from heaven pray for us.
Vi-sion dimmed_ by dis-eases of men, God's
light led Ka-ter-i's way.
Marred face on-ly made this Li-ly bloom,_ Oh, In-dian maid-en pray for us.
Ka-ter-i Te-ka-kwi-tha. Cleansed by wa-ter
First tast-ed the bread of life on Christ-mas Day,_ Oh, teach us peace and_ love.
Fra-gile flow-er of the earth and sky, while
on her death bed did_lie, To
us she made a__ promise__ "From heaven I will_ pray."
In death face_no__ long-er scarred, _ Surround-ed
by a ra-diant light,
Bless-ed Li-ly of the Mo-hawks,_ From heav-en, pray for_ us.