Statue Honors Catholic Indian - St.
Francis Basilica to Add Indian Woman Statue
Santa Fe, NM – A statue of Blessed Kateri
Tekakwitha, a Catholic American Indian who became known as the
Lily of the Mohawks, has been erected in front of Cathedral
Church of St. Francis of Asissi in Santa Fe.
The new statue will join one of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy,
which is currently the only statue that stands outside the cathedral.
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan chose Estella Loretto,
a Jemez Pueblo sculptor, to create the bronze statue. It was
unveiled for the cathedral's 150th anniversary.
A painting of Tekakwitha joins a number of other
saints on the church's altar screen.
"The Archbishop would like a statue (of Kateri
Tekakwitha) to honor the Native American spirit," Father
Jerome Martinez said.
Tekakwitha, born in 1656, was brought up in the
Mohawk community of Ossernenon, now Auriesville, N.Y. A part
of the turtle clan, she was orphaned at age 4 when both parents
and a brother died in a small pox epidemic. The disease affected
her eyesight and her health. Her name, Tekakwitha, means "putting
things in order."
She was baptized in 1676, when she was 20 and
died four years later. After her death, Tekakwitha became known
as the "Lily of the Mohawks".
On Jan. 3, 1943, Pope Pius XII declared her venerable,
and Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1980. Pope John Paul
II also designated Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha as the patroness
for World Youth Day 2002 in Canada.
Above: Estella Loretto on the day of the unveiling
of her sculpture, "Blessed Kateri", in front of the
Cathedral at the Basilica of Saint Francis in Santa Fe, NM.