Fonda, New York: National Shrine of Saint Takeri Tekawitha
About Saint Kateri Tekawitha:
The daughter of a Mohawk Indian chief in 1656 in upstate New York. At the age of four her parents and her brother died of smallpox and although she contracted the disease, she survived but with horrible scars. The scars were so severe that it ruined her vision, and hence the name Tekawitha which means “she who bumps into things”. Rather than give in to bitterness and hatred, she yearned for a life dedicated to God.
Naturally the Mohawks, Iroquois and others had reasons to hate the new arrivals to their shores. Perhaps one of the greatest was the introduction of new diseases that the Indians had no natural resistance to. As a result, Smallpox epidemics raged among the natives such as the one that took the lives of Blessed Kateri’s parents and brother.
In addition, this religion of Christianity threatened the status of the chiefs and medicine men, and was fiercely resisted. Among this background, Kateri secretly took instructions in the Catholic faith and on Christmas Day 1677, she received her first Holy Communion.
Her life could not have been easy after that, since her fellow villagers made fun of her and even threatened her life. She ended up fleeing to the Mission of Saint Francis Xavier in Canada and during the rest of her short life she devoted herself to caring for the sick, teaching young children the Faith, and spending many hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
This inspirational woman died at the young age of 24, but left behind a legacy of great works of mercy. She was buried in Canada at Kahnawake, Quebec.
At the time of her death there were reports that the scars on her face completely disappeared. People who prayed for her intercession have reported many healings as a result.
Kateri Tekawitha was proclaimed a Saint by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012.
About the National Shrine of Kateri Tekawitha:
The Shrine is open from May through October from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mass is offered on Saturdays (vigil Mass) and Sundays. If you wish to attend Mass on any other day, then they ask you to attend one of the nearby churches listed on their website. There is a gift shop on the grounds as well. Their online gift shop is open year ’round.
One of the main attractions is the spring where Saint Kateri was baptized. The water still flows, and many pilgrims claim cures after drinking the water and praying through the intercession of Saint Kateri.
Traveling to the Shrine of Saint Kateri Tekawitha:
Address: 3628 State Highway 5, Fonda, New York
GPS coordinates: 42° 57′ 2.8944” N, 74° 23′ 35.8152” W
Tel: +1 (518) 853-3646
e-mail: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of the Blessed Kateri Tekawitha shrine in Fonda, New York.