OC Celebrates First Native American Saint, A Young Woman

The Catholic Church and the Juaneño Band Of Mission Indians will celebrate the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha at the Mission on Sunday.

The first Native American saint will be canonized in the Vatican, and Orange County Catholics and the Juaneño Band Of Mission Indians will celebrate it with a special mass Sunday, 11 a.m., at the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano.

During the service, the Juaneño Indians will participate in a grand procession, sacred directions, gift bearing, traditional songs and readings of the mass.

“This is important,” said Jerry Nieblas, an active member of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians. “The first Native American is going to be canonized in Rome (Sunday). This is a real precious moment for us to have one of our own become a saint.”

As locals celebrate with a mass in San Juan Capistrano, the Orange County-based Juaneños will have their first Roman Catholic Priest attend Sunday’s canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha at the Vatican.

Juaneño Priest James Nieblas of the Salesian order of St. John Bosco will be in Rome to witness the historic ceremony.

Tekakwitha, known as Lily of the Mohawks, was born in 1656 in the New York area. She was 4-years-old when she lost her family and much of her eyesight to smallpox, earning her the name Tekakwitha, which means "she who bumps into things," according to the national shrine in her honor. She converted to Christianity despite bitter opposition from her tribe.

She was 23-years-old when she died and, according to the Catholic Church, witnesses watched her smallpox scars disappear in the moments after her death. Since her death, believers have prayed to her for healing, and the church attributes several miracles to her including the 2006 recovery of a young boy in Washington state who recovered from a near-deadly case of flesh-eating bacteria after his parents and locals prayed to Tekakwitha.

For several years now, Juaneños have been praying in her name at the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, where a statue was erected in her honor, said Jerry Nieblas.

Sunday’s service will feature Juaneño tradition blended into the Roman Catholic mass, he said. "This is a very special day in which we are going to celebrate and renew ourselves.”

The Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano is at 31522 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano.

Janice Pickartz October 21, 2012 at 03:01 AM
This will certainly be a wonderful, historic moment to be a part of...
Charles October 21, 2012 at 03:15 AM
I wonder how the Chumash felt about the missions, especially between about 1780 and 1850.
Dusty W Otero October 21, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I will not be there ,why cause if she did not convert to being a christian there would be no mention of her Miracles,,,I say that all of this is to increase the Catholic membership and is not a Historical moment to me,I think the true Miracles are from the ,,still small voice whispering to you, and to all faiths not just mine . yes I was baptised here at our mission and am 1/4 Mission Indian with papers from the mission to prove who I am...Do you think my ancestors would be here today???
Charles October 21, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I say that all of this is to increase there would be here today? I will not a Historical moment to me, I think my ancestors would be no mention of her Miracles. I say that all faiths not a Historical moment to being a christian there. Why? Because if she did not a Historical moment to me, I think my ancestors would be no mention of her Miracles are from the still small voice whispering to you think the still small voice whispering to you, and is not just mine.
Dusty W Otero October 21, 2012 at 06:52 PM
U are funny charles lol ...and not from this valley u must be a transplant like all the rest lol
gilbert October 22, 2012 at 01:47 AM
God and Jesus once said that you should have no other GOD than the GOD of Israel. They also said never to pray or ask anything from the dead. To pray to her is a direct violation of GOD first three commandments. It is also practicing idolatry, which Catholicism is deeply involved.
Charles October 22, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Praying is a direct violation of logic and rational thinking. It is also practicing mental delusions which psychological health is deeply involved.
MFriedrich October 22, 2012 at 04:08 AM
That's it Gilbert. Let's revert to a war of rhetoric as to which Christian dogma is more accurate: Catholicism vs. Protestantism. On the spectrum of all Christian faiths the two are so close in dogma it isn't even funny, but hey, go nuts. As for saints, I someone who doesn't believe in "miracles", so I don't believe "sainthood" is an appropriate or correct conclusion to make. To believe in miracles you have to not only believe that natural and scientific laws and human reality was suspended, but that they were suspended in the favor of one person ora group of persons. When you really think about it, miracles are not a little bit ridiculous. When weird things happen, like a David Copperfield magic show, it's far more likely that one is under some kind of misapprehension of events. In other news, Christians and Atheists actually appear to have a ton in common: http://www.meh.ro/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/meh.ro5802.jpg
Nelson A. Petrie October 22, 2012 at 06:56 AM
This is one of the problems of the Catholic church - veneration of people -ordinary mortals whom they believe created a miracle (in this case, a baby was supposed to have been healed and people are healed everyday from incurable diseases, mind you) and pray to them as though they were gods. Catholics believe in saints. So do Hindus but then why do the Catholics do not venerate the Hindu saints? After all, they too are as human as the Catholics. All these things (belief in saints etc) actually drive a person away from God the Spirit of the Universe. And anyway, why should God favor only people from a particular religion? Veneration of saints and granting sainthood is utter nonsense perpetuated on the Catholics by the powerful Catholic church. It keeps the people very vulnerable which is really what the church wants.
Lawrence (Larry) McCook October 22, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I believe that every person has the right in America to practice or not practice any religion. They also have the right to denigrate any religion even at the expense of other peoples feelings. There is is an "St." in front of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc. Does this mean that Christians should not believe in The New Testament? I am proud to be Catholic and also proud to attend events at the Saddleback Church including their fine H2H Group.
Charles October 22, 2012 at 03:10 PM
"Does this mean that Christians should not believe in The New Testament? " I don't know if the absence of the "St." preface is a reason, but yes, it is unwise to believe in anything (such as the new testament) that has zero basis or evidence for existence.


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