Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church in Santa Clarita is now Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.
Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the canonization of the 17th-century Iroquois woman Sunday in St. Peter’s Square before a crowd of 80,000. She becomes the first native American saint.
According to the Vatican press office, the pope addressed the “life and example” of seven new saints in his homily. He looked to St. Kateri for the “renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America.”
Kateri was born in 1656 in modern-day New York to a Mohawk father and Christian Algonquin mother. Baptised at 20, she faced persecution and fled to Canada where she made a vow of chastity and dedicated her live to prayer, penance, and care for the sick and elderly. She died in 1680 at age 24 and her last words were, “Jesus, I love you.” According to tradition, numerous sick people who participated in her funeral were miraculously healed.
The process of canonizing her began in 1884. She was declared venerable by Pius XII in 1943 and beatified by John Paul II in 1980. Her feast day falls on July 14.
The Santa Clarita parish church is located at 22508 Copper Hill Drive.