Canonization connects to Marquette
In October, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to receive the designation of saint. Crucial to her canonization was the extensive Native Catholics Collection held in Raynor Memorial Libraries, which includes more than 50 interviews with Native Catholics devoted to her, notes archivist Mark Thiel.
Also crucial was Tekakwitha’s performance of a miracle, which came in 2006.
Tekakwitha was born in the 17th century and Jake Finkbonner the 21st, but the two will be forever connected. When Jake was 5, he was infected by a flesh-eating bacteria that spread to his face. The family’s pastor suggested praying to Tekakwitha, who had smallpox as a child and was left with a horribly scarred face. Jake’s infection quickly cleared, and the Vatican declared it a miracle.
“St. Kateri’s canonization puts an ‘Indian face’ on the Catholic Church. People are able to see themselves reflected in the church itself, and Marquette is proud to provide collections celebrating this holy woman,” says Thiel, who conducted the interviews in 1993 and has been archivist of the collection for 25 years. — BDJ
In conjunction with the canonization, photos from the university’s archives were featured in a special exhibit at the Vatican Museum and Rome’s John Cabot University.