On Friday, September 7th, 2012, a very special mass was held at St. Anne’s church in Conne River.
This service was to honour a special woman, Kateri Tekakwitha, who will be made a saint by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2012, in Rome.
Several residents of Conne River will be attending this special service.
A statue of Kateri was on display from Corpus Christi Parish in Northern Bay, NL, and was brought to Conne River by residents for this special Mass.
Several residents from Conne River made the two trips to view the statue, make arrangements for its transport, and then escorted it to St. Anne’s church for this special service.
The statue was unveiled by two people who will be at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome for the canonization - elder Ethel Joe and her granddaughter Alaina Joe.
Prayer cards were distributed to all in attendance that bore Kateri's picture and a beautiful prayer on the reverse of the card.
Catherine Tekakwitha, informally known as Lily of the Mohawks, was an Algonquin-Mohawk Catholic virgin and a religious laywoman. She was born in 1656 in New York, the daughter of Kenneronkwa, a Mohawk chief, and Tagaskouita, a Roman Catholic Algonquin who had been adopted into the tribe after capture.
She survived smallpox, was orphaned as a child, and later baptized as a Roman Catholic. Kateri then settled for the last years of her life at the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal in New France.
Tekakwitha professed a vow of virginity until her death at the age of 24. Known for her virtue of chastity and corporal mortification of the flesh, as well as being shunned by her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism, she is the first Native American woman to be ‘venerated’ in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII did this in 1943.
Various miracles and supernatural events are attributed to her name after her death. It is historically documented that her face was badly scarred from her encounter with small pox but miraculously all signs of imperfection disappeared from her face immediately after her death. She is also said to have appeared to several people in the weeks after her death. And several miracles have been have been attested to her name leading to authorization for canonization.
The residents of Conne River were honoured to have this statue in their church and community. Throughout the weekend the church was left open for the residents to view this beautiful piece of art.
One resident of Conne River stated that the statue was beyond beautiful and was saddened to see her go back to Northern Bay.
“I wish we could keep her here with us but she belongs to another parish,” stated Mary Benoit.
Mary and eleven others will be attending her canonization this October 21st in Rome.
Brenda Jeddore will be traveling to Rome with four students (Hayle Stride, Steve John, Desiree Benoit and Alaina Joe) and doing a documentary on the trip for the St. Anne’s school. Chief Misel Joe will also be making the trip as well as community members: Lisa John, Jean Jeddore, Ann Marshall, Mary Benoit, Ethel Joe and Gwen Goodyear.
The community of Conne River was very grateful for the presence of the statue of Kateri and many people visited the church to view and pray in its presence since the unveiling. Thank you to the Parish of Corpus Christi for the use of their statue for this special occasion.