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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Don't Make Me Spell Tekekwitha Again.

Over the weekend on the patron saint trail I stumbled upon Blessed Kateri Tekekwitha, the only Native American saint. Well, not a saint. Blessed. Not 'blest'...bles-sed. Sister St. Aloysius is big on recycling and mentioned that the church better get on the ball and declare more useful patronages for modern life, like they did by making St. Isidore the patron saint of the internet.

There really is a patron saint for everything, even if you have to stretch it a little. But the saints had to deal with life just like we do, so it's not hard to make the leap.

This time it was Sister St. Aloysius and I who were behind the eight ball. Blessed Kateri is the patron saint of the ecology. Officially. Ecology, ecologists, Green Peace, Save the Whale, recycling, riding your bike, having a fuel efficient car...by extention of what they believe, vegetarians (which is not just about not killing animals) and by further extention of that thought...the makers of tofutti.

Sister Mary Fiacre loves tofutti. We have to watch her weight a little, since she's immobile.

Blessed Kateri was a Mohawk...I think. Anyhow, she was a Native American girl who found Christ, survived smallpox but was disfigured by it, and was shunned by her people for her newfound faith. She made her way all alone through the wilderness, like the cat and dog in the Incredible Journey, to find a mission where she could live in peace. Like most saints who weren't much to look at, she's very attractive on her holy card.

That all got me to thinking about the North American martyrs, who have fascinated me since I was a child. They were Jesuit priests who came here from France to evangelize the Native Americans and they were all tortured and killed. My favorite childhood story was that of St. Isaac Jogues who had his fingers chewed off by the Iroquois. They had discovered that the priest is only allowed to touch the host with his thumb, forefinger and middle finger, so they chewed those off on both hands. He had to get a special dispensation from the Pope to say Mass with his remaining fingers. I think of these things whenever I hear people whining about being lactose intolerant as they reach for their soy latte.

There were eight of them all together, tortured and killed by the Iroquois and sometimes the Hurons. What great work!

How many people did they convert?

One. I think.

Not Kateri. She was a Mohawk.

God love them for trying. But I have to wonder if it was worth it. You may be shocked to hear me say that. After all, all eight of their lives are worth that one soul.

But what if all eight of them had gone elsewhere and converted 20 people? Or 700 people?

The heathens who never hear the news get to go to heaven anyhow. They used to go to limbo, but limbo closed. Now they just go right to heaven.

Which makes me further worry about the possibility of a war in heaven.

I figure, if you haven't heard the word of God and you were an ignorant innocent and you go right heaven, which is only fair, you'll get all the information when you get there and you'll see for yourself right away that the Catholic church was right about everything, as claimed.

But you know...you still have free will in heaven. And some people can't see the truth when it's staring them in the face. It would be very depressing to have my fingers chewed off in heaven. Not that I'll need them there.


Sister Mary Martha said...

Not you, ec, the Iroquois. You can't plead ignorance just by virtue of the fact that you have internet access. Or a TV.

Mr. Friendly said...

Sister Mary,
Kateri founded that shrine right around my neck of the woods. It's name is The Shrine of Our Lady Of Martyrs and is located in Auriesville, New York.

Kind of like "Drums Along the Mohawk" except with Jesuits.

CMinor said...

Wait--if Bl. Kateri's the patron of ecology--does that leave St. Francis out in the cold?

Sister Mary Martha said...

St. Francis is as warm as toast. His busy roster of patronages will keep him busy for millenia to come. Not to mention all the birdseed and water he is given to hold every day.

ukok said...

St. Isaac Jogues, I'd never heard of him or his incredible history. I really appreciated reading about him, I hope it helps me kick my insignificant concerns to the kerb all the quicker.

Christopher Clark said...

They should make Isaac Jogues the patron saint of minding your own damn business.

owenswain said...

Interesting to note that five of the eight North American martyrs died in Canada, well technically what is now Canada. You almost got to keep them in that war of 1812 but no such luck. {Now that was a war, eh?}

I can't imagine the bravery of these Jesuits or thier passion for the Lord and for souls. They came from afar and didn't even have a Bishop to lean on {the first came to Quebec in 1658}.

CMinor said...

Well, give us time, Owen. They're working on five more down here in Georgia, of all places.

Candy Girl said...

i like being a vegetarian!