“Decolonizing Methodologies” and Blessed Saint Kateri.

OCT.21,2012, St. Peter’s Basillica, Vatican
In “Decolonizing Methodologies” author Linda Smith discusses how spaces of marginalization have become spaces of hope and resistance. One such space of hope from the past, from 300 years past, is the story of Kateri Tekawitha of the Kahnawake First Nation in Quebec. The imposition of the Catholic faith on the indigenous peoples of North America is a very difficult and painful subject for both First Nations peoples and the Catholic Church. This marginalization of the religious and spiritual beliefs of the First Nations peoples is perhaps one of the most contentious issues facing the Church today. 15th century Pope Alexander VI called for “barbarous nations” to be overthrown and reduced for the propagation of the Christian empire.
As a practicing Catholic, I am ashamed of some of the histories of my church; but we are a long way from those days, both in the measure of years, and in the tenets and beliefs held by today’s Catholic.
Whether or not one is Catholic, the story of a 4 year old surviving when the rest of her family died from a smallpox epidemic is intriguing. Several other miracles have been placed at her feet, and the canonization of Saint Kateri is very significant. It represents a very real connection to faith that may not have been present before for many First Nations peoples. It is ironic that the indigenous peoples of Canada did not ask for the Catholic religion, and yet we have a First Nations girl in the pantheon of Catholic Saints. It is a very real example of creating a space of hope and resistance out of a marginalized position. The petition for her canonization was filed in 1884; “The Lily of the Mohawks” was beatified by Pope John Paul in 1980, and canonized today by Pope Benedict.

• http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/21/14591532-kateri-tekakwitha-named-first-native-american-saint-in-vatican-ceremony?lite
• http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/ict_sbc/kateri-tekawitha-beatification-in-the-context-of-spiritual-conquest
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekawitha


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