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The White Martyrdom of Kateri Tekakwitha

5/23/2004 - 5:30 AM PST

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her marry. Now, well-meaning friends urged her to wed. They reminded her often of the social and economic hardships a single woman would face. Kateri listened to them, but she knew she would never marry. Moreover, the thought of poverty, hunger, and scorn did not frighten her in the least. Those were trivial things and her heart looked to Jesus alone for comfort.

Kateri took these concerns to her spiritual direction. She told him of her desire to renounce marriage and its worldly advantages forever. She wanted to dedicate her entire being to Jesus.

On the Feast of the Annunciation, 1679, Kateri knelt to receive Holy Communion in the mission chapel. Then, having received the Lord, she dedicated herself to Him forever. She offered her body to Christ on the Cross and her soul to Him in the Eucharist.

The scarred, half-blind orphan of Ossernenon had become a Bride of Christ, the consecrated virgin at the Mission on the Sault. Kateri had truly died to the world and sought only to continue her pilgrimage to Him. Her companions and mentors could see that she never lost sight of Him. In everything she did or said, she sought to be one with Him and His sufferings.

Kateri was strong in character and spirit but, from childhood, she had always been frail in body. She had never let this physical weakness stand in her way, especially in matters of devotion. Now, barely a year after her sublime vow, her indifferent health gave way to constant illness. She could no longer visit her dear chapel; the sickness confined her to her sleeping mat, too weak to move. Days and weeks went by in pain and solitude, but she welcomed this. She tenderly offered her suffering up to the Lord in place of her usual Lenten penance and spent the long, lonely hours in prayer, simply talking to Jesus and Mary.

Kateri Tekakwitha died on April 17, 1680, her last words - Iesos Kononronka - declared her love of Christ. The friends who knelt in prayer at her side then witnessed a wondrous transfiguration. The smallpox scars, the traces of her long illness, the remainders of all her sufferings vanished. Her features became beautiful, reflecting the radiance of her heavenly joy.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was never required to lay down her life for the Lord she loved so greatly. It was that total and selfless love of Him that earned her the luminous crown of white martyrdom.

In 1980, Kateri Tekakwitha was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Efforts continue to have this holy young virgin a saint. Information on her canonization cause is available through the Tekakwitha League (


Kateri On-line  NY, US
PaulaAnne SharkeyLemire - editor/creator, 518 434-4931



Kateri Tekakwitha

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1 - 1 of 1 Comments

  1. Elaine Orlen
    4 years ago

    I would like to read more articles on white martyrs.

    Could you send me the name of some books. I believe one was written by
    Bishp Dolan

    Thank You!

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