October 19, 2012

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo joins First Nations citizens in celebrating the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Indigenous woman from North America to become a saint.

“This is an emotional occasion for all Catholics around the world, especially in the Indigenous community, as a sister of ours is bestowed with the highest honour given by the Catholic Church,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “Kateri Tekakwitha devoted her life to helping the poor and the sick. She is an inspiration for so many of our people who have gone through difficult times, including many who are still living with the trauma of residential schools. Many First Nation citizens have traveled to Rome to celebrate this momentous event and honour the Blessed Kateri, also known as the ‘Lily of the Mohawks.’”

Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in Ossernenon, New York and lived most of her 24 years in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, Quebec. She was declared Venerable by the Catholic Church in 1943 and beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980. The Mass for the Canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha will be held in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, October 21, 2012.