Mass. duo to see canonization of Native American
Thirty-two years after her mother traveled to the Vatican for the beatification of a Native American Catholic woman who had died 300 years before that, Anna Jarvis will travel to Rome with her daughter, Roberta Allen, for the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha.
The tearful pair said that to be at the Vatican when Pope Benedict XVI declares the Native American of Mohawk decent, known as Lily of the Mohawks, a saint will be almost as exciting as being there for Jarvis’ mother, who died in 1993 and would have loved to have known her family completed her quest.
“She so wanted to see Kateri canonized,” said Allen of Erving. “She worked very hard to help get her there.”
Tekakwitha will be America’s first indigenous saint.
In 1980, Josephine Warisose Angus traveled to the Vatican to watch the beatification of Kateri Tekakwitha, which is a recognition by the Roman Catholic Church of a dead person’s entrance into Heaven and the capacity for the church to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in that person’s name. Pope John Paul II performed the ceremony at that time and Tekakwitha was given the title, “Blessed Kateri.”
“My grandmother was a member and one of the first officers of the Akwesasne Kateri Circle, a group that advocated for her canonization,” said Allen. “We were asked by the Kateri Circle to go to the canonization in my grandmother’s name.”
Allen said all Mohawk reservations have a Kateri Circle. She, her grandmother and her mother, like Tekakwitha, are of Mohawk descent – and all three are Catholic like Tekakwitha.
“You have to live on a reservation to be a member of the circle . That’s why we had to be asked,” said Jarvis of Erving.
Jarvis said that like Tekakwitha, her mother was committed to the Catholic faith. But, she said, in the 1600s, unlike over the past few decades, turning outside of Mohawk faith was frowned upon.
“Kateri faced ridicule for converting to Christianity,” said Jarvis. “I’m glad my mother didn’t.”
Pope Benedict XVI cleared the way last December for Tekakwitha to become a saint, something the two women weren’t sure would ever happen.
“The only sad thing is that my mother didn’t get to see this happen,” said Jarvis. [More]