A Mohawk nun is part of a Presidential delegation attending the canonization mass of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Marianne Cope at the Vatican in Rome.
Sister Kateri Mitchell, Sister of Saint Ann (Mohawk Nation), and the executive director of the Tekakwitha Conference in Great Falls, Montana, is part of the three-member delegation that is witnessing the canonization of the two women and five others on behalf of the White House, the President’s office announced on October 18.
Mitchell is the nun who prayed with the family of Jake Finkbonner, the Lummi boy who nearly lost his life to flesh-eating necrotic fasciitis in 2006. Holding a relic of Tekakwitha, Mitchell visited Jake’s parents and prayed for Kateri to intervene as his life ebbed away. Soon afterward, the boy made a remarkable recovery and is today a health 12-year-old. A miracle—and now, a sainthood—was born. Mitchell, a long-time admirer of Tekakwitha, sees her as a bridge between Native American spirituality and Catholic traditions, according to Religion News Service.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” she told the news wire. “It’s a great validation.”
The Presidential delegation is being led by the Honorable Miguel Humberto Diaz, United States Ambassador to the Holy See, according to a White House press release. The other delegate is Sister Agnelle Ching, Assistant General Minister of the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities, and the chief sponsorship officer of the Saint Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii, the White House said.
Blessed Marianne Cope spent much of her life tending to leprosy victims in Hawaii, an overwhelming number of whom were Native Hawaiians who had little resistance to the disease and were in essence exiled to leper colonies in their own land. She hailed originally from Utica, New York, and died in 1918.