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Icon of Kateri by Father John Giuliani
 
On this feast day in honor of Mohawk holy woman Kateri Tekakwitha, first native saint of the Americas celebrated by the Catholic world, we join with all indigenous peoples who mourn and protest the violation of their persons, homelands, cultures, historical destiny, and spiritual life-ways.  

The world now learns of the many thousands of children who have died of abuse, neglect, forced separation, murder, and suicide in religious and national boarding schools for involuntary assimilation across Canada and the United States.  Many of these schools were operated by various churches, most of whom have acknowledged their culpability and taken up programs of restorative justice.  Now people of faith and conscience wait upon Kateri's own Church to likewise engage a transparent and sincere process of "truth and reconciliation" in the coming months and years until prayers and professions of solidarity by religious leaders become authentic.
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The Institute for Earth and Spirit will honor the lives of these holy innocents and the surviving First Nations peoples throughout the Americas by pledging to offer forums and programs leading to greater understanding of the history of colonialism and racism that has brought us to this year's commemoration of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.  It is our hope that by fulfilling our educational mission we may be part of the arduous labor of healing historical trauma for the liberation of both red and white peoples. 
  • May Kateri's spirit be protection for the natural world, of which she is patron.
  • May she stand as a bridge between Christian and native peoples who in good faith and conscience are reaching toward each other to encounter each other anew.
  • May she be protection for her indigenous sisters - the countless murdered and disappeared native women of North America - awaiting recognition and their families awaiting healing.
  • May she inspire her own church to take up the great work of confession, conversion, and atonement for its historic and continuing failure to practice true solidarity with native peoples.
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Kathleen Deignan, CND Institute for Earth and Spirit

Tribute and text offered by Kathleen Deignan, CND
Icon of Kateri Tekakwitha by Father John Giuliani - used with permission.

Our mailing address is:
kdeignan@iona.edu

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