Pope Benedict XVI approved the miracles of seven people who are considered “blessed” by the Church. With the approval of these miracles the seven blesseds can now be canonized. Among them are four lay people, two North Americans and one Filipino youth.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born in what is today Auriesville, New York and died at Caughnawaga in Canada in 1680. Born to a Christian Algonquin Mother and a Mohawk Father, Blessed Kateri is known as “Lily of the Mohawks.” In 1667, at the age of 11, she met Jesuit missionaries who had been sent to help make peace with the French.
That was her first contact with Christianity. It wasn’t until she was 18 that she asked to be baptized. She lived her faith in the face of a community that was increasingly hostile towards her and her faith. She died at the age of 24 in Caughnawaga where she had been living with a Christian native woman. It was said that within minutes of her death the pox marks that had scarred her face as a child, disappeared. A devotion to Kateria began to be manifested almost immediately by her people. In 1884 a monument was built to her memory at her grave site. She was beatified in 1980.
German-born Blessed Marianne Cope was a Sister of St. Francis in New York. She ministered as a teacher and hospital administrator and helped found two of the first hospitals in the central New York area. In 1883 and emissary from Hawaii came to visit, asking for Catholic sisters willing to provide healthcare on the island of Molokai. Blessed Marianne agreed to go and spent the last 30 years of her life ministering to people with leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease in Molokai. In 1884 she met St. Damien de Veuster who was already ministering to lepers in Molokai. In 1889 she was chosen to be St. Damien’s successor at the Boys Home in Kalawao. Blessed Marianne died in 1918 of natural causes. She once promised her order that no sister who went to minister on the island would contract Leprosy. To this day no sister has contracted the disease.
Blessed Pedro Calingsgod was a young Filipino catechist who traveled to Guam with the Jesuit missionary, Blessed Fr. Diego Luis San Vitores in 1668. They encountered hostile natives and were murdered. Their bodies were thrown into the sea, never to be found again. He was beatified March 5, 2000 and was one of the patrons of WYD 2002 in Toronto. Pedro Calungsod will become the second Filipino saint.
Dates for the canonization ceremonies of these blessed are expected to be announced in the new year.