Although today’s readings are for the 15thSunday of Ordinary time, July 14 (when it does not fall on a Sunday as does today) is the feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. St. Kateri was canonized last October 21, 2012, the first native North American to receive this honor. St. Kateri was born near Auriesville in 1656, New York, from Mohawk and Algonquin parents. Her life was marked by the tumultuous changes and wars between native peoples as well as the French and English. Yet in spite of this conflict and the near death effects of the smallpox, which killed many of her family, she converted to Catholicism and led a life of heroic virtue until her early death in 1680.
Her Jesuit biographers recalled her sanctity as well as those around her and her life continued to be an inspiration for indigenous peoples throughout North America and the world. Her canonization not only testifies to her sanctity, her patience, and her desire to spread the gospel but also to that constant truth identified by Paul the Apostle that we must bring the truth of Christ in words, customs, and traditions that is meaningful to specific people. Finding the balance between the constancy and unchanging nature of truth and varied ways in which that truth can be proclaimed is a challenge but it is the challenge that nourishes and brings forth great saints from all parts and cultures of the world.