Religion: The Lily of the Mohawks

The dark-skinned, pock-marked girl who may well become the first native-born American saint* last week made another step on the long road to canonization. In a public consistory in Rome, Pope John XXIII heard church lawyers make a petition for the beatification of Kateri Tekakwitha.

Fasting on Sunday. She was born 304 years ago in the Iroquoist village of Ossernenon, now Auriesville, N.Y. Her father, Kenheronkwa, was a Mohawk chief, her mother, Kahenta, an Algonquin whom the Mohawks had taken captive. Smallpox killed both her parents and left four-year-old Tekakwitha ("One who puts things in order") badly scarred and weakened for life.


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