Dates: 1656-1680 Status: Beatified Prognosis: Searching for first miracle
A Mohawk maiden scarred by smallpox as a child, Kateri Tekakwitha converted to Christianity at 20, and fled death threats to live in a settlement of Christian Native Americans in Quebec, where she devoted the rest of her life to good works. Her pox scars were said to have disappeared at the moment of her death. Her tale has inspired novels by morose Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and idiosyncratic U.S. author Willliam T. Vollman. In an outreach to indigenous peoples, John Paul II beatified her in 1980, even though her miracles lack certification. But a certified miracle is necessary for canonization. An official of her U.S. shrine told TIME that a Kateri promoter in Canada "is hot on the trail of a claim he thinks has a lot of substance".
David Van Biema