Saint Kateri Book Review

Book Review by Ann Jonas, Tradebook Buyer - CSB/SJU Bookstores
this review was published in the St. Cloud Visitor

Saint Kateri: Lily of the Mohawksby Matthew and Margaret Bunson; 234 pps. $15.95

On October 21, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha will be canonized, making her the first Native American saint in the Roman Catholic Church.  Our Sunday Visitor has published a new biography of Saint Kateri, an updated version of a book first published in 1992. The new edition, Saint Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks, is written by Matthew Bunson and his mother Margaret, who passed away as the book was being completed.

The daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Catholic mother, Kateri was born in 1656, baptized in 1676, and died in 1680, at the age of twenty four.  The Jesuit missionary priests who instructed Kateri in the Catholic faith documented her life in considerable detail, recognizing her special spiritual qualities.  The many letters, accounts, and biographies that were written by the Jesuits in the 1600s served as the building blocks for Kateri's beatification and subsequent canonization.

Saint Kateri details the saintly life of Kateri, based on what the Jesuits wrote of her before and after she died.  She suffered with grace the lingering effects of smallpox, persecution by her own people, and the loss of both her parents. She lived a short life-only four years as a Catholic-and yet she was beloved as a holy person while she lived and revered both while she lived and after her death.

In addition to an introduction and helpful timeline, Saint Kateri consists of three parts: "The Worlds of Saint Kateri," which gives a background on the area and time in which Kateri lived, "The Life of Saint Kateri," which chronicles her life, and "The Legacy of Saint Kateri," which describes the steps to her sainthood.  The acceptance by the Vatican of the miracle cure of a six-year-old Native American boy is also included, which was the final step to Kateri's canonization.

Kateri's short, but holy life is an inspiration to us all.  Saint Kateri gives readers a thorough account of the life of one of our newest saints.

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