Catholics walk the ground traveled by new Native American saint
Twelve-year-old Jake Finkbonner leaned over Saturday and ran his hand through a pool of water from a natural spring at the National Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, in Fonda. With that simple gesture, the boy connected literally to the story of the 17th-century Native American the Roman Catholic will elevate to sainthood Oct. 21.
The spring is believed to be where Kateri Tekakwitha was baptized and formally became a Christian on Easter Sunday in 1676. Jakes story of an inexplicable recovery from a flesh-eating illness in 2006 is attributed to prayers to Kateri (pronounced Gad-a-lee in Mohawk) on his behalf. That spring water supplied the Mohawk village where Kateri lived for 11 years. Jake and his family filled several bottles with water for the spring to take back to their Ferndale, Wash., home.
Jake, who is of Lummi descent, said hes gotten used to the attention he draws when people learn hes at the center of the miracle that led the Vatican to proclaim Kateri a saint, one of the churchs holy role models. He likes to read and play basketball, and he loves video games. He and his 10-year-old sister, Miranda, are training to become altar servers.
“I feel a great amount of gratitude and thanks to her,” Jake said of Kateri.
The Finkbonners were among hundreds of people visiting the Kateri shrine and the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, in Auriesville, as part of the 73rd Annual Tekakwitha Conference that began Wednesday in nearby Albany. [More]