The Native American is a woman called Kateri Tekakwitha
. She was born around 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon (now New York State) and died in what is now Canada, at the age of 24. She is the first Native American to be declared a saint. She was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1980.
The reason for Kateri Tekakwitha's selection, according to World News
, is for undertaking a miracle where, according to records, she saved the life of a Native American child. Catholic scholars now believe that the child was a victim of a flesh-eating bacterium.
With Native American communities Kateri Tekakwitha is known as Lily Of The Mohawks, and she is revered as being one of the pioneers of Christianity
amongst the Native American tribes. She becomes the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
Tekakwitha has been featured in novels, such as Leonard Cohen's
'Beautiful Losers' (1966) and William Vollman's
'Fathers and Crows' (1992).
The Pope named
Kateri Tekakwitha, along with the other new saints at a ceremony in St Peter's Square at the start of what he has declared to be a "Year of Faith".
According to the BBC
, the other people who became saints are
German-born Franciscan nun Maria Anna Cope who is known as Mother Marianne Of Molokai because she looked after lepers on the island of Molokai in the Hawaii archipelago,
French Jesuit Jacques Berthieu, who was executed by rebels in 1896 in Madagascar
The Philippines' Pedro Calungsod, a young seminarian who was killed on the island of Guam when he visited with a Jesuit priest to baptise a young girl,
German lay preacher Maria Schaeffer, who died in 1925,
Italian priest Giovanni Battista Piamarta, who in the late 19th century devoted his life to helping young people during the industrial revolution and founded a religious congregation,
Spanish nun Maria del Carmen, who also founded a congregation and worked to better the lot of poor women in the 19th Century