The Daily Prayer
TUESDAY, April 14, 2020
Kateri Tekakwitha (1656—1680)
Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in present-day New York. Her mother was Algonquin, a Christian Native, and her father was a non-Christian Mohawk Turtle chief. When Tekakwitha was four years old, a smallpox epidemic killed her parents and her brother, and left her with seriously impaired eyesight and a disfigured face. Inspired by Jesuit missionaries at an early age, Tekakwitha was baptized and assumed the name Kateri, probably in honor of Catherine of Siena. The following year, French conquerors reached her community of Ossernenon and destroyed much of it, burning it to the ground and massacring many of the Natives. Kateri escaped on the St. Lawrence River to a village of Christian Natives, where she dedicated her life to chastity, prayer, and care for the sick. She was the first Native American saint in the Catholic Church and is often called the Lily of the Mohawks, and the Apostle of the Indians.
Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany, wrote, “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Go before us, God, that we may follow in your steps. Go behind us, God, to steer us when we stray. Go beside us, God, as our strength and our joy for the journey. Amen.