Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not Just Another Pretty Face -- The True Beauty of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Sad to say, that there is often a comparison game going on between women with regard to looks, prestige, haves and have-nots. Here's a women who had little in terms of the worldly beauty or possessions, but who possessed the pearl of great column this week at Patheos profiles Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to ever be beatified.

Here's a snippet:

She might have been ugly by today’s glamour standards. I don’t really know, and there isn’t a photograph of her because the camera had yet to be invented. She makes me think of people whom I know who have lived with some sort of disfigurement or scarring on their face. There is an acute form of social suffering attached to that. We can all think of a face of someone who is derided for being socially awkward, or worse, rejected.
In our media-saturated culture, we tend to focus on exteriors and externals almost unconsciously. We’re often unaware that we’re doing exactly that. We look for what catches our eye or grabs our attention. This sometimes gives us a warped sense of beauty and we have to dig deep to recognize what “beauty within” is all about.
Sadly, given the stressors and conflicts in society, we might subconsciously be profiling people next to us if they differ from us in terms of race, nationality, religion, or sexual mores.
Now imagine a woman who faced rejections on many of those same levels, but still lived a grace-filled life of interior freedom. We might call her a saint. Or, as in the case of Kateri Tekakwitha, a blessed.
July 14 is the feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be to be beatified. She was the only survivor from her family of origin when small pox infected her village. That’s how it was in the 17th century before the age of vaccines and antibiotics. European settlers to the Americas had not only brought their trade and their Christian faith, unfortunately, they also brought their diseases.
Born in 1656 in the Mohawk River Valley in what would become Auriesville, New York, Tekakwitha had a Christian Algonquin mother and a pagan Mohawk warrior father. Tekakwitha’s battle with the small pox left her face pock-mocked and scarred, and with very poor eyesight. Her name translates to “she who bumps into things.”
The rest is here.

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