No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.
The mind of the day draws
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outwards.
We seldom notice how each
day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.
And you fall out of your belonging with each other,
May the depths you have reached hold you still.
When no true word
can be said, or heard,
And you mirror each other in the script of hurt,
When even the silence has become raw and torn,
May you hear again an echo of your first music.
When the weave of
affection starts to unravel
And anger begins to sear the ground between you,
Before this weather of grief invites
The black seed of bitterness to find root,
May your souls come to kiss.
Now is the time for
one of you to be gracious,
To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
Reach out with sure hands
To take the chalice of your love,
And carry it carefully through this echoless waste
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
Towards the gateway to spring.
The title of my homily is, “The Forensics of Footprints.”
Today is the feast of St. Bonaventure [c.1217-1274] – a Franciscan
and a theologian – a doctor of the church.
Every year when I come to his feast day – July 15 - I
celebrate that I grabbed and got one of his big messages – a footprint - vestigium in Latin - realizing there is so much I
No problem. I’m just happy that something of his has
rubbed off on me.
So I get his message about footprints.
We all know the story of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
– published in April of 1719. We all remember the moment he spotted footprints on the sand of the beach
– where he was all alone.
He was no longer alone. Uh oh! What now? What’s next?
Read the book.
We’ve all had the experience in our life of spotting
footprints in the sand or in the snow. There was someone going down or up this
path or beach before me.
I am not alone.
We don’t know much about Bonaventure’s personality – but
we know a lot about his thought – he wrote a lot - as well as the external
facts of his life.
He was a great thinker and theologian – and I think he would have
written a lot more if he had more time. Who knows what else he would have come up with – if he
was not moved into executive tasks in both his order the Franciscans – as well
as Church business – being consulted by Rome as well as being made the cardinal-bishop of Albano.
So I like one of his most basic messages: footprints. They
mean someone with feet was here.
Well, Bonaventure argues for God – by saying God’s
footprints are everywhere.
The stuff around us tells us there was a stuff maker –
God the Creator.
I’ve had said out loud to dozens of people asking me
about God – that if there is a chair, there is a chair maker. What the chair
maker’s personality is like – now that’s another story – but we know there is a
We got to the Moon. Our human footprints are now on it. Human
footprints on the moon tells us there was someone there.
It also tells us that there are humans with minds who
figured out the mathematics and the mechanics of getting there.
It also tells us that there was a moon maker – as well as
the vast universe we live in? Our God is a creator, a universe maker – and
after we die, hopefully, we’ll know God
and how God is.
The title of my homily is, “The Forensics of Footprints.”
Forensics – basically - means arguing – trying to prove
things in the public forum.
And that’s what Bonaventure did – as teacher and priest
and bishop and then cardinal of our church.
He would say: check out the footprints. He was an
optimist – someone said more than Thomas Aquinas – who also often made
deductions from what is.
Bonaventure also tells us that the human mind – tells us
so much more than the footprints. Bonaventure tells us to use science.
Science, learning, getting the facts for the forensics –
helps us in arguing for God.
Today’s first reading and gospel, tells us there are
cities – and in those cities there are kings and subjects – and by thinking
about each other – how we are as people – pluses and minuses – creations and
destructions – good and evil - we can learn even more about God and each other.
That’s step 2 by Bonaventure – moving from creation to
creative persons on the earth.
Step 3 – following these steps – these footprints – we can get even closer to
the third step – moving to this God of ours – to God as Trinity – another big
message of Bonaventure.
We all know about the poem “Footprints” about there is a
God – who carries us – but that is the faith step.
Our last Pope, Benedict wrote his second dissertation on
Bonaventure – and Revelation in Bonaventure - and came up with one of his big
messages of hope from him. Bonaventure
said we can learn a lot from everyone – even those we’re not walking with – so some
wish Pope Benedict did a little more of that – but I leave those footprints and
that kind of figuring and dialogue to others.
The title of my homily was, “The Forensics of
Bonaventure tells us to see the footprints all around us.
He said read the book of creation – read the minds of
others – and you’ll arrive by foot at God – and others will learn from our
The title of my homily for this 15 Monday in Ordinary
Time is, “Religious Practices.”
Question: What are you religious practices?
One obvious practice for most of you is weekday Mass.
SOMETHING ALL RELIGIONS
HAVE IN COMMON
Every religion has religious practices. So if one looks
into any religion, one could line up various religious practices for that
Catholicism has its list – and it’s a long, long, long
For example, the rosary, Stations of the Cross, making
the sign of the cross with Holy Water coming into a church – and for some going
out of church, making the sign of the cross when going by a church and for some also
a cemetery, saying a prayer before turning the key of the car before going on a
trip, morning prayers, night prayers, prayers before Meals, etc. etc. etc.
Religious practices vary by event, experience, culture,
At a baptism, a woman told me she blessed her son on his forehead every
night from his baptism onwards with a small sign of the cross made with her
thumb. She was asked to do this at his baptism so she did this till he was 21.
Some religious practices drop out; some continue.
For example, there is no sign of the cross indicated in
the big book to be made in the first part of the Mass with the penance rite at
the beginning of Mass – but many people
still do it – priests included. Why not?
Now why this message today? Well, it’s a religious
practice at Mass to give a short homily at weekday Masses.
Well, why bring up this particular message of addressing
religious practices today?
First of all, it’s a theme we’ve been hearing from the
prophets these past few weeks in the first reading – Amos, Hosea and now again in
today’s first reading from Isaiah 1: 10-15.
Isaiah has God asking rather bluntly: “What do I care about the number of your sacrifices? I’ve had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of
fatlings. In the blood of calves, lambs and goats, I find no pleasure.”
He also has God saying, “Enough with the incense. Enough with
your festivals. Enough with your spread out hands. Enough with more prayers.”
Then Isaiah says what God really wants: Clean hands and a
clean heart. Stop doing evil. Start doing good. Justice. “Make justice your
aim; redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”
I think we get this. We hear it over and over again from
I suspect it’s a theme one would hear in every religion.
We hear it in Jesus all the time. He urges us not to do religious
practices to be seen. Not to give lip service. Not to be faking it. Not doing
only externals - while one’s heart is
far from God in what one is really doing.
Religion runs into the reality of show and phoniness all
the time. The Pharisees weren't just in the Early Church.
I love the scene in a novel where a Boston politician always
comes in late for Mass – walks down the main aisle – genuflects and drops his
I love the funniness of Ash Wednesday. The readings tell
us to do religious practices that day and during Lent in the privacy of one’s
heart – to wash our face - and then we put external ashes on foreheads.
The second reason I’m thinking about this today is
because today is the feast of Saint Kateri Texakwitha.
She did some of the regular Catholic religious practices
of saying the rosary and praying to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
One specific religious practice Kateri liked to do was
make little crosses out of branches and plant them in the woods she would
travel – and use them to remind her to pray. I noticed in reading up on her life that the French missionaries brought to the Native American converts some religious practices – that were not healthy or helpful.
Kateri would also cut and burn her skin – in punishment
for her sins. She and other women would beat their shoulders with sticks – till
they drew blood. Some would – with clothes on – cut a hole in the ice and go
into the freezing cold water and prayer for forgiveness of their sins. 
In this homily I’m highlighting the reality that we have
The key ones to practice are those that help us love the Lord our God
with our whole heart, mind, soul and spirit – and to love our neighbor as
·Presented at the symposium on
“The Spanish Missions and California Indians,” held at D-Q University near
Davis, California, March 2, 1990. Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized by pope
Benedict 16 (formerly cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) on October 21, 2012,
elevating her to sainthood.
Kateri Tekakwitha(1656-1680)and Junípero
Serra(1713-1784)are both candidates for sainthood. Pope
John Paul, in beatifying Serra in September 1988, extolled him as “a shining
example of Christian virtue and the missionary spirit. His great goal was to
bring the Gospel to the native peoples of America, so that they too might be
‘consecrated in the truth’.”1When he beatified Kateri Tekakwitha eight
years earlier, the pope declared to a mostly Native American audience: “Blessed
Kateri stands before us as a symbol of the best of the heritage that is yours
as North American Indians.”2
Sainthood means raising a past Catholic's life as a model
for living Catholics to emulate. Why would the pope view Junípero Serra on the
one hand, and Kateri Tekakwitha on the other, as role models for Catholics
There seems to be a world of difference, culturally and
historically, between the Spanish mission builder Serra and the Mohawk mission
Indian woman Tekakwitha. One aspect that unites the two, however, is their
single-minded devotion to Catholic dogma, their preference for a happy death
over a happy life, and their practice of physical self-punishment to the point
of excess. While harsh physical discipline and self-punishment were part of the
secular and religious culture of both Serra and Tekakwitha, Serra was chided by
his Franciscan colleagues, and Tekakwitha was chided by her Jesuit mission
mentors, for carrying the practice far beyond the bounds of prudence.
Life of Tekakwitha
Tekakwitha was born around 1656, in the village of
Ossernenon on the south bank of the Mohawk River, in what is now east-central New
York State. Her father was a Turtle clan chief of the Kanien'kehaka, better
known as the Mohawk people. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin woman,
apparently captured in war, who had been educated and baptized at the French
Jesuit mission of Three Rivers in Quebec.3
Mohawk society was being wrenched out of equilibrium by the
stresses of European contact. The growing desire for European goods stimulated
the Mohawk fur trade to the point that many men abandoned animal conservation
practices and took to raiding the Algonquian peoples to the north, with the
object of seizing beaver pelts. In the 1640s, the Mohawks obtained guns — first
from the English, then from the Dutch — and became more aggressive and
effective in fighting the French as well as the Algonquins and Hurons. Military
leaders became more prominent and powerful than traditional chiefs. Rum sold by
Dutch traders aggravated conflicts among village people. Smallpox and other
European diseases devastated the population.4
When Tekakwitha was four years old, her mother, father, and
younger brother all died of smallpox. She survived the disease, but was nearly
blinded, and her face badly pitted. Since her eyes could no longer endure
bright sunlight, “she was forced to take refuge in creeping about in
the...shadows of the Long House. Whenever she emerged into the light of day,
she had to hood her little head...to protect her eyes.”5
Tekakwitha's father's sister Karitha, along with her husband
Iowerano, adopted her as their second daughter. Shortly afterwards, the
survivors of plague-ravaged Ossernenon built a new village for themselves at
the top of a hill, a mile or two up the Mohawk River along its southern bank.
Celebrating for three days, they called their new village Kahnawake.6
In 1666, the French royal army systematically attacked the
Iroquois nations. They amassed a force of over a thousand soldiers to subdue
the Mohawks. After driving the people from their homes, the French burned all
three Mohawk villages, one after the other, destroying the women's corn and
squash fields in the process. The ten-year-old Tekakwitha and her new family
fled into a cold October forest.7
Tekakwitha's family, along with other survivors, moved
across the Mohawk River, rebuilding the village of Kahnawake on the north bank.
By 1668, due to the drastic reduction in the Mohawk population from smallpox
and French assault, two-thirds of the population of Kahnawake were said to be
Algonquian and Huron captives.8
The Jesuits Arrive
The League of the Iroquois was compelled to make peace with
the French in 1667. That same year, as part of the peace settlement, French
Jesuits arrived in Mohawk country to set up a mission. Four priests (Jacques Frémin,
Jean Pierron, Jacques Bruyas, and Jacques de Lamberville) visited Tekakwitha's
family in Kahnawake, staying three days in their long house.9Previous efforts by French Jesuit missionaries
to evangelize among the Mohawks and neighboring Iroquoian peoples had been
frustrated by Mohawk hostility.10Now, with the Mohawks pacified, Jesuit
missionaries fanned out into all five Iroquois nations.
Many Mohawks were amazed that the French priests came with
no military protection, and grew to respect the persistent “black robes,” as
they called them. Moreover, the Algonquian and Huron Christians adopted into
the Mohawk nation now felt free to express themselves as Christians. They
eagerly flocked to mass at the mission church, and presented their children to
the priests for baptism.11
Tekakwitha came into contact with children in Kahnawake who
were being instructed by the missionaries and taught to sing charming church
hymns. But her uncle Iowerano strongly opposed the Jesuits' evangelizing work.
Her aunts Karitha and Arosen (Iowerano's sister) grew dismayed as Tekakwitha
began to depart from traditional ways. They tried to arrange her marriage to a
young Mohawk man.12Tekakwitha fled the cabin after the young
man had entered and sat down beside her. For this bold rebuff of their marriage
scheme, Tekakwitha's aunts punished her with ridicule, threats, and harsh
workloads. While obedient to their work demands, Tekakwitha remained firm in
her resistance to marriage. Eventually, her aunts gave up their attempts to get
her to marry.13
1669, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Feast of the Dead, held every ten years, was
convened at Kahnawake.Some Oneidas came to the feast, along with
several Onondagas led by their famous sachem Garakontié. Tekakwitha's mother
and father, along with others who had died in the previous decade, were to be
tenderly exhumed, so that their souls, contented, could be released to wander
to the spirit land to the west.14
Showdown at the Feast
of the Dead
Priest Jean Pierron had other plans. In a bold and rude
speech, he attacked the beliefs and logic underpinning the Feast of the Dead.
The assembled Iroquois, upset at Pierron's insult to their holy feast, commanded
him to be silent. But Pierron continued, exhorting the Iroquois to give up
their “superstitious” rites. Pierron's almost desperate sense of urgency no
doubt stemmed from the Mohawks' revenge, earlier that year, against a group of
Mohicans who had attacked Kahnawake: On that occasion the victorious Mohawks
had tortured and burned to death eleven Mohican captives, including four women
and one baby, scorning Pierron's attempts to instruct and baptize the captives
even as they burned.
Pierron departed from the Feast of the Dead, but only to
return accompanied by the Onondaga sachem Garakontié, to whose sense of justice
he had appealed. Under Garakontié's protection Pierron concluded his speech,
demanding that, as the price of continued friendship with the French, the
Iroquois give up their Feasts of the Dead, their faith in dreams as a guide to
action, and the worship of their war god.
Astonishingly, the assembled Iroquois relented. Exchanging
gifts with priest Pierron, they promised to give up the customs and rituals he
had denounced.15In retrospect, Pierron had probably launched
his bold psychological assault on the Feast of the Dead with the confidence that
he and his fellow Jesuits had persuaded several valiant and respected Iroquois
men and women far enough along the path to Christianity, that some would
support him in his provocative speech. Garakontié himself later became a
Tekakwitha Becomes a
In 1675, Tekakwitha met priest Jacques de Lamberville, who
had taken charge of St. Peter's mission in Kahnawake the year before. She
expressed her desire for baptism, and began religious training. Baptized on
Easter Sunday in 1676, at the age of twenty, she took the Christian name
Kateri. The new convert was considered exceptionally devout, having long since
disdained and abstained from her people's traditional dancing, singing and
feasting for the sake of a more humble and modest life, which now became more
and more absorbed with Christian prayer.16
Kateri became the butt of scorn and insults from
non-christian villagers. Men threw stones at her, compelling her to take
roundabout paths to reach the mission chapel. Children ran after her down the
streets, mocking and shouting, “Look at the Christian!”17
By now a new, Christian village of Kahnawake had developed
200 miles to the north, on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence River near
Montreal. The settlement, called St. François Xavier du Sault by the Jesuit
priests, was first composed mainly of Oneidas, but soon attracted large numbers
of Christians from other Iroquoian and Huron tribes, especially Mohawks. So
many Mohawks settled in the new mission village that, by 1673, it was said that
there were more Mohawks warriors living there than in their own country.18The more zealous Mohawk converts made
regular trips back to their home villages, with the aim of bringing fresh
converts to new Kahnawake.
Flight to New Kahnawake
One of these Mohawk lay apostles, upon learning of the harsh
harassment Kateri Tekakwitha was suffering in old Kahnawake, convinced her to
flee to the new mission village up north. After securing the permission of
priest de Lamberville, Kateri, fleeing with her Christian Indian companions,
eluded her pursuing uncle and continued along the 200-mile trek through the
Adirondack mountain region. She arrived at new Kahnawake in October 1677, and
received her first holy communion on Christmas day.
Kateri was now free to express her Christian faith in all
passion. She not only prayed ardently, performed all the Christian rituals she
had been taught and humbly served the poor and infirm. She also deprived
herself of physical sustenance, and punished her own body with unusual zeal.
“She often went into the woods,” wrote her Jesuit confessor, “and chastised her
shoulders with sticks. From there she would go to church and spend a long time
deploring her sins... She confessed them, interrupting her words with sighs and
sobs as if she were the greatest sinner in the whole world; yet she was of an
angelically innocent disposition.”19
When a person suffers the death of her or his closest
companions or nurturers, she or he naturally develops a strong desire to be
re-united with those companions. To blunt the pain of her loss, she imagines
her departed loved ones as happy together in some afterworld. But then, how
does she reconcile the fact that she alone has survived to go on living? If she
now finds pleasure in her life, she feels pangs of guilt, because her deceased
loved ones cannot share in her pleasures. Both to rejoin her loved ones and to
resolve her psychic tension, she may come to prefer an agonizing death to a
Tekakwitha suffered the death of her mother, father and
brother at age four. At age ten, her village was burnt to the ground. At age
thirteen, when she was expecting the happy release of her loved ones' souls
from what remained of their dead bodies, the stunning turnabout at the Feast of the Dead ceremony
instigated by priest Pierron may have compounded her psychic shock. If the
Feast of the Dead was a wicked ceremony, and the Mohawk beliefs all wrong, then
what would become of her loved ones' souls?
Guilt, it seems to me, was a driving psychological force of
the Christian movement from its very beginnings. Jesus' closest disciples
abandoned him during his hour of trial, condemnation, humiliation, torture and
death. Their horror over their loss, and guilt over their own behavior, spurred
them to sacrifice themselves spreading the gospel of their departed mentor. It
also spurred them to rail against the pleasures of the flesh, and
psychologically to invert Jesus' death agony into an object of adoration.
Catholic death obsession, and the dogma of original sin, may
have provided Tekakwitha with a method to resolve her psychic conflict — a
conflict provoked, ironically enough, by repeated European assaults against her
Masochism and Mohawk
To be sure, physical self-punishment was not simply imposed
on Tekakwitha from without; it had its roots in Mohawk culture. Besides
hunting, war-making was among the men's major pursuits. The resulting military
culture placed a premium on men's capacity to endure physical hardship, wounds,
torture and execution. Condemned war captives were expected stoically to sing
their death songs, and to endure their prolonged death agony without a moan or
murmur. Women typically had the power of life or death over war captives, but
women themselves were not always spared the cruel punishments of war.
Thus the Mohawks and other Iroquoian peoples, in contrast to
the California Indians, took easily to the practice of physical self-punishment
brought by Catholic missionaries. The Jesuit missionaries at new Kahnawake were
amazed, and at times dismayed, by the self-punishing zeal of their neophytes.
Priest Pierre Cholonec wrote that the Christian Indian women “outnumbered the
men in repentance for their faults... Some rolled themselves in the deep
snow...” Others chopped holes in the river ice with their hatchets, plunged
into the water up to their necks, and boldly recited their prayers before
clambering out, their clothing frozen to their bodies.20Kateri Tekakwitha outdid most of her sister
and fellow neophytes in self-punishment. One night, while her household slept,
she spent several hours branding her own limbs with a burning wooden stick.21She routinely fasted on Wednesdays and
Saturdays and, when taking her single evening meal22on other days, she often mixed ashes into
her corn porridge. One day, to prepare for confession, Kateri and her Oneida
friend Marie-Thérèse Tegaiaguenta voluntarily beat each other, in turn, with
sticks, drawing blood from each other’s shoulders.23
In Iroquois religion, the Feast of the Dead provided
periodic release from grief and mourning. With the shift to Christianity and
the death cult of Jesus, mourning becomes perpetual. From an Iroquoian
standpoint, Jesus Christ must have appeared as a kind and loving father whose
soul could never find its resting place. For Kateri Tekakwitha, the figure of
Jesus may have become a surrogate for her own departed father, who, by Mohawk
belief, was a lost soul due to the aborted Feast of the Dead ceremony — and, by
Christian belief, was a lost soul for never having been baptized.
The perpetual mourning mode of Christianity, with its
attendant physical self-punishments, was bound to have a negative impact on the
people. In Iroquoian societies (as in most cultures) women were the main
providers, tending the cornfields and apple orchards, gathering wild fruits,
nuts, roots and firewood, and manufacturing clothing. When women, the
life-givers, become obsessed with self-torture and death, the people as a whole
are in trouble.
The Hunting Season
The mission Indians of Kahnawake, who governed themselves
under Jesuit supervision, would leave the village in groups during the harsh
winter season, pursuing scant food supplies by hunting nomadically for three or
four months. Kateri Tekakwitha, deeply attached to the mission church, did not
want to join the hunting expedition, but was persuaded to do so by her adopted
sister and brother, who wanted her help in making the long trip.24Another woman in the hunting party accused
Kateri of sleeping with her husband — a charge Kateri firmly denied, to the
priests’ satisfaction. Kateri vowed never again to embark on a long hunting
Upon visiting a sisterhood of French nuns with her friend
Marie-Thérèse in Montreal, Kateri — who was still being pressured by her
adoptive kin to marry — hit upon the idea of becoming a nun herself. The
priests did not permit Kateri and Marie-Thérèse to establish an Indian
sisterhood of nuns. Yet Kateri took a vow of perpetual chastity, with the
priests' blessing, in 1679.
Tekakwitha's Death and
When the next hunting season came around, priest Cholonec,
concerned over Kateri's failing health, urged her to join her kin in the
hunting party, in the hope that access to meat might help her regain health.
Kateri refused, insisting she would gladly suffer bodily hunger for the
spiritual sustenance she received at the mission church. She remained in
Kahnawake, continuing her harsh and sparse diet and her cruel self-punishments.25
The following April, after a long, drawn-out illness, after
singing her Mohawk death song, and after receiving the final sacraments of the
church, Kateri Tekakwitha died at the age of 24. The best spiritual explanation
for her fatal illness is provided not by Catholic doctrine, but by Iroquois
philosophy: Iroquois healers viewed some diseases as psychic, rooted in “the
vindictiveness of the soul of the patient, when it is provoked to rebel against
the body” out of despair over a lack of spiritual resources needed to sustain
Kateri's death and pious example left a deep impression on
the Indians of Kahnawake. Their zeal for self-punishment increased. On the
night of Good Friday, one day after Kateri's death, one woman spent hours
rolling herself in thorns, as Kateri had done. “Many beat themselves till blood
flowed. Married people separated, vowing to lead continent lives thereafter;
widows renounced second marriage.”27Young people took chastity vows, breaking
sharply with Iroquois tradition. Kateri's burial ground soon became a shrine
revered by Catholic pilgrims, both Indian and French, throughout the region.
Many miraculous cures were credited to her intercession.
As candidates for sainthood, Junípero Serra and Kateri
Tekakwitha form a perfect pair, by orthodox Catholic standards. Serra was a
tireless European missionary who sacrificed himself to spread the gospel;
Tekakwitha was a traumatized Indian woman who sacrificed herself to receive it.
Serra worked with repressive imperial authorities to root out “pagan
superstitions” among the people; Tekakwitha willingly gave up her people's
“pagan” ways to embrace Catholic faith in its most repressive form.
If the Vatican canonizes Junípero Serra and Kateri
Tekakwitha, the tragedy of the California Indians on the one side, and of
Tekakwitha on the other, will be enshrined in the pantheon of saints.
(Click on any superscript number in the text to jump to
the corresponding footnote)
Beatified at Last,” by Elizabeth Fernandez,San Francisco Chronicle, 26 September 1988.
Paul's address of 24 June 1980, as related inKateri Tekakwitha: Joyful Loverby Mary Pelagia Litkowski, O.P. Growth Unlimited Inc.,
Battle Creek, Michigan, 1989, p. 51.
Lecompte, S.J.,Glory of the Mohawks: The Life of the Venerable
Catherine Tekakwitha, translated by
Florence Ralston Werum, FRSA, Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, 1944, p. 5
Fenton and Elisabeth Tooker, “Mohawk,”Handbook
of North American Indians, Volume 15:
Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC,
1978, pp. 468-9.
Weiser, S.J.,Kateri Tekakwitha, Kateri Center, Caughnawaga, Canada, 1972, p. 34.Kahnawake(“at the
rapids”) has several other possible spellings, the most common beingCaughnawaga.
The Mohawk village of Kahnawake, located in east-central New York, should not
be confused with the (mostly) Iroquois mission Indian village by the same name,
located 200 miles to the north near Montreal.
Sargent,Catherine Tekakwitha, Longmans, Green & Co., New York, 1936, p. 164.
Fenton and Elisabeth Tooker,op. cit., p. 467.
Fenton and Elisabeth Tooker,op. cit., p. 469.
11.Daniel Sargent,Catherine Tekakwitha,op. cit., p.
Iroquoian peoples, marriage was traditionally arranged by the mothers of the
prospective couple, with the youngsters having no voice in selecting their
marriage partners. Also, Iroquois families were generallymatrilocal,
with the husband moving out of his clan and/or village residence to live with
his bride in her family home. This meant that arranging the marriage of a young
female relative would bring a new man, and eventually children, into the woman-centered
family home. See Judith K. Brown, “Iroquois Women: An Ethnohistorical Note,” inToward an Anthropology of Women, edited by Rayna Reiter, Monthly Review Press, New
York, 1975, p. 241. Also George P. Murdock, “The Iroquois of Northern New
York,” inOur Primitive Contemporaries, The Macmillan Co., New York, 1934, p. 312.
Beauchamp, W.M. “Mohawk
Notes,”Journal of American Folk-Lore, vol. 8, Boston, 1895, pp. 217-221.
————————. “Iroquois Women,”Journal of American Folk-Lore, vol. 13, Boston, 1900, pp. 81-91.
Béchard, Henri, S.J.The Original Caughnawaga Indians, International Publishers, Montreal, 1976.
Brown, Judith K. “Iroquois
Women: An Ethnohistorical Note,” in Toward an Anthropology of Women,
edited by Rayna Reiter. Monthly Review Press, New York, 1975, pp. 235-251.
Chamberlain, A.F. “A Mohawk
Legend of Adam and Eve,”Journal
of American Folk-Lore, vol. 2,
Boston, pp. 228, 311.
Fenton, William and Elisabeth
Tooker. “Mohawk,” inHandbook
of North American Indians,
Volume 15: Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger, Smithsonian Institution,
Washington DC, 1978.
Hewitt, J.N.B. “The Iroquoian
Concept of the Soul,”Journal
of American Folk-Lore, vol. 8,
Boston, 1895, pp. 107-116.
Lecompte, Edward, S.J.Glory of the Mohawks: The Life of the Venerable
Catherine Tekakwitha, translated by
Florence Ralston Werum, FRSA. Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, 1944.
Litkowski, Mary Pelagia, O.P.Kateri Tekakwitha: Joyful Lover, Growth Unlimited Inc., Battle Creek, Michigan,
Morgan, Lewis Henry.Ancient Society,
edited with an introduction by Eleanor Burke Leacock. World Publishing Co.,
Cleveland and New York, 1963.
Murdock, George P. “The
Iroquois of Northern New York,” inOur Primitive
Contemporaries, The Macmillan Co.,
New York, 1934, pp. 291-323.
Sargent, Daniel.Catherine Tekakwitha, Longmans, Green & Co., New York, 1936.
Sheehan, Thomas.The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God
Became Christianity, Random
House, New York, 1986.
Weiser, Francis X., S.J.Kateri Tekakwitha, Kateri Center, Caughnawaga, Canada, 1972.
Genevieve Cuny, OSF, director of religious education at the
Tekakwitha Conference in Montana, generously explained to me her perspective on
Tekakwitha's life and the sainthood campaign, and supplied me with popular
literature on Tekakwitha's life. Gilbert Hemauer, OFM Capuchin, former
executive director of the Tekakwitha Conference, gave me valuable background on
Tekakwitha and the current Native American Catholic movement.
The late Henri Béchard, S.J., vice-postulator at the St.
Francis Xavier mission in Kahnawake, helped me pursue a difficult historical
question by tracing out his own extensive research into that question, and
supplied me with two informative books he wrote on Tekakwitha and the early
mission Indian community at Kahnawake. Thomas F. Egan, S.J., at the Akwesasne
parish church in upstate New York, brought me up to date on Tekakwitha's
sainthood campaign and told me of the recent history of the Mohawk community he
Shirley Scott, librarian at the Kanien'kehaka Raotitiohkwa
Cultural Center at Kahnawake, helped me sort out European-imposed names from
the true names Native groups have given themselves, and told me of the
wonderful work her community's elders have done to keep the Kanien'kehaka
(Mohawk) language alive among the young generations.