Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 - 1680)

Church of the Annunciation, Ilion NY
I'm going back over my summer vacation photos. While on vacation in Vermont I took the opportunity of driving over to Ilion in New York State to visit another English priest abroad, like me of the Southwark archdiocese, Father Anthony Barratt. Fr Anthony has been pastor of the Annunciation Parish at Ilion in the diocese of Albany for some six years. He is also Dean of Herkimer County and lectures on various theological subjects.

Interior of the church.

Prior to that he was Vice Rector of St John's Seminary, Wonersh. So we were staff members of the seminary at the same time. Father Anthony celebrated 25 years of priesthood towards the end of July.

Some of the parish team after morning coffee.

Fr Anthony, yours truly, and a retired priest who lives nearby. I'm afraid I cannot now recall his name but he struck me very much by the warmth of his welcome, his evident holiness and dedication to the people in hearing confessions, and not treting retirement as a time off from priesthood, always celebrating or concelebrating Mass daily.

Well, none of this has much to do with Blessed Kateri, except that about 40 miles East of Ilion along the Mohawk River is the National Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Fonda, NY, where she was baptised. You can read Kateri's story here.

She is a remarkable young saint who paid the cost of being a disciple of Christ in having to leave her homeland to join a settlement of Christian Indians in Canada. I blogged about her earlier this summer.

  A board explains a little of the history of the site.

 A candle chapel where people can leave votive candles burning for their intentions before a statue of Blessed Kateri.
 Exterior of the main shrine church.

If you plan to visit, go straight upstairs to the church, unless you are really interested in some Indian history in which case you can visit the museum downstairs. To be honest I did not find if of much interest.

 Interior of the shrine church.
The church has a Kateri chapel at the back with devotional items, presumably left by the faithful:

Of interest are some depictions of her life painted on the beams of the roof.

  1675: Fr James DeLamberville SJ visits Kateri at Fonda.
 Baptism of Blessed Kateri on Easter Sunday (April 5th) 1676

1676: Kateri refuses forced marriage.

 1677: Blessed Kateri flees to a village of Christian Indians at Caughnawaga, Canada

Prayer for the Canonisation of Blessed Kateri:
O God, who among the many marvels of your grace in the new world did cause to blossom on the banks of the Mohawk and the St Lawrence the pure and tender lily Kateri Tekakwitha, grant we beseech you, the favor we beg through her intercession, that this young lover of Jesus and of his cross may soon be counted among her Saints by the Holy Mother Church, and that our hearts may be enkindled with a stronger desire to imitate her innocence and faith. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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