A brave girl
There were invaders in the land: bringing strange ideas and strange diseases. When Catherine was four, one of the invader’s diseases swept through Catherine’s family, killing her parents and her brother and leaving her half blind, disfigured, and orphaned.
She was adopted by an uncle and raised by aunts. When she was 11 or so, her uncle hosted three of the invaders who were passing through on a peace mission. It was from them that Catherine first learned of Christianity. They were members of the Society of Jesus and a flame was lit in Catherine’s heart. After a few days, the men went on their way, but Catherine never forgot the message they had brought. She would cling to it through all the years that followed, firmly resisting demands to be married or to enter into the lifestyle swirling about her.
When she was 18, another priest came to her village. Catherine was baptized and began to openly practice her faith. Even her uncle could not protect her from the persecution that then descended upon her. She was rescued by fellow Christians and brought to a place where she was able to practice her faith with the most intense devotion.
Kateri Tekakwitha died in 1680 at the age of 24. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980.