Celebrating ‘Lily of the Mohawks’

Theresa Steele portrays St. Kateri Tekakwitha during a presentation on the Native American saint’s life Oct. 20 at St. Kateri Parish in Dearborn. St. Kateri, who died at the age of 24, was shunned by her tribe for taking a vow of virginity for Christ, yet remained steadfast in her Catholic faith, Steele said. (Photos by Mike Stechschulte, The Michigan Catholic)

A statue of St. Kateri stands outside the parish on Rotunda Drive in Dearborn.

DEARBORN — St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Dearborn marked the fifth anniversary of the canonization of its patroness — the first Native American saint — Oct. 20-22 with three days of festivities.

The celebrations included a portrayal of the life of the first Native American saint by Theresa Steele, a Canadian-born member of the Algonquin nation from upstate New York, and talks by Fr. Henry Sands, director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ office for Native American and black Catholic ministries. Fr. Sands is a former pastor of St. Alfred Parish in Taylor.

The weekend also included healing services, Masses, confessions and traditional Native American meals.

St. Kateri, known as “Lily of the Mohawks,” was a Mohawk-Algonquin woman shunned by her tribe for taking a vow of virginity for the sake of her Catholic faith. She died in 1680 at the age of 24.