Sunday, July 9, 2017

Pray, Play, and Learn with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Last week, we enjoyed our Saint Elizabeth of Portugal S.K.I.L.L. T.I.M.E. + and snacks, so this week, I am planning to focus on another saint:  Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be declared a saint.

Saint Kateri's feast day is July 14th and her story is told simply by Franciscan Media with a brief reflection following (in case you don't already know it.) 

I am still not certain how my children and I will honor St. Kateri's feast day this year, but I have spent time thinking and researching in order to collate a host of ideas that will have us praying, playing, and learning this feast day and, likely, for several years coming.  I thought I'd share my brainstorm in case you are looking for prayers, activities, or resources for the feast day.

Praying with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri was known to love prayer and the Rosary, and it is said that she placed pebbles on the ground to count her prayers for the Rosary.  Thus, will may collect pebbles and use them for the same purposes.  Or, perhaps we will get bigger rocks and leave a reminder to pray somewhere for others to happen upon as my son spontaneously did on a beach a couple years ago.

Also, since an article at FSSPX says that St. Kateri's last words were, "Jesus, I love you,"  I may use these words for copywork or dictation and, also, lead my children in using the simple, but heartfelt words as an aspiration all day!

This brief prayer related to St. Kateri and found at Holy Spirit Interactive will likely be introduced by me to my children, too:

Let us pray today for those who experience difficulty at the hands of others in their desire to live their Christian vocation more fully.
during a quiet moment - or when we need to make a quiet moment! - I may pull up a brief Saint Kateri retreat offered free online from Loyola Press to read to the children, reflecting and praying with them.
{Disclosure:  Some links which follow are affiliate ones.}

Alternately, or in addition, I might lead us in a more in-depth meditation using the Saint Kateri portion of Little Lessons from the Saints.
For longer prayer and reflection, after reading the Lily and the Cross at Catholic Culture, we may make our way to Adoration for some quiet time with Jesus.

We may also pray this prayer, found on Catholic Culture, at some point during the day:

O God, who desired the Virgin St. Kateri Tekakwitha to flower among Native Americans in a life of innocence, grant, through her intercession, that when all are gathered into your Church from every nation, tribe and tongue, they may magnify you in a single canticle of praise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Or, we could pray this prayer found on the National Saint Kateri Tekakwitha  Shrine website:

God of all creation, goodness and love, our hearts are filled with gratitude and praise for you. In our beloved St. Kateri you have found gentleness and peace. In her you have heard once more “Jesus, I love you”. In St. Kateri Tekakwitha you have given your Church a new maiden of the Gospel for your Son.

As the indigenous peoples of North America celebrate her goodness and as all the Church honors her holiness we raise our voices in praise and joy. You have given us a gift beyond all measure and we ask you to help us celebrate this treasure as we live holy and peace-filled lives in your name.

Please continue to grant our request and the needs of our brothers and sisters through St. Kateri’s intercession in her heavenly home. -Amen.

The Litany of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
and Novena to St. Kateri Tekakwitha are other options.

Playing with St. Kateri Tekakwitha

As is described in an article from NWHM, when St. Kateri was four:

...smallpox spread through her village and took the lives of her mother, father, and younger brother.   She survived, but was left weaker, scarred, and partially blind.  Thus, she was named Tekakwitha, which means “The One Who Walks Groping for Her Way.” 

To help us empathize with the condition of bring partially blind or blind, we might do blindfolded walks or poor water into cups blindfolded.  We might also play Blindman's Bluff or Marco Polo for fun.

Plus, I read at FSSPX that "in
her daily life, Kateri learned how to sew and embroider and became an expert at sewing beads, belts, moccasins and leggings. She was a good, obedient and happy girl."  Thus, we might break out our sewing and embroidering materials or play Mother May I.

Likewise, as says, "
Despite [St. Kateri's] poor vision, she also became very skilled at beadwork," we may break out our beads for some crafting.

Keeping with the crafting idea, it is said in A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms that St. Kateri used to fashion wooden crosses with sticks and place them in her path as "stations" for prayer, so, perhaps, we will get creative fashioning our own crosses, or, better yet, check out some YouTube videos on lashing and learn how to lash sticks together to make crosses.Related,
we might also use our camping multi-tool to carve crosses into found wood pieces or wood scraps that we already have, recalling how, when the winter hunt took Saint Kateri far from her village and prevented her from visiting the mission church, she carved a cross into the rough park of a tree and would kneel before it in the snow, head bowed, praying in her own little secluded woodland oratory.
Ahike or canoe jaunt may also be in order to honor St. Kateri, since a Fortnight of Freedom pdf explains that St. Kateri escaped the hostile environment she lived in and
"traveled the 200 miles by foot and canoe to Canada".  Certainly, we cannot travel 200 miles, too, but we can definitely make a shorter trek, thinking about St. Kateri.

Then, keeping with the outdoors theme, if I am feeling adventurous and find the feast day offers us a lot of downtime to experiment, I might get a fish so the children and I can try making a fire roasted fish (traditional of native cultures), sagamite (a traditional corn soup), some Mohawk Cornbread (with thanks to the recipe at Catholic Culture), a corn, beans, and squash recipe (sicne these foods were traditional to St. Kateri's people), something with wild edibles (since St. Kateri, I have read, would have foraged for wild roots), lily-themed foods (since Kateri is associated with lilies).

Art could include making portraits of St. Kateri after viewing some online and reading about the oldest portrait of her.

It might also include designing and painting pegs after re-reading the St. Kateri page in the
Encyclopedia of Peg Saints or coloring or painting on these FREE printables: Catholic Playground's free Saint Kateri coloring page and Drawn 2B Creative's one.

Finally, aling the lines of Mohawk learning and play, we might also break out our old corn husk dolls or make new ones.
Learning about St. Kateri Tekakwitha

We will likely re-listen to our Holy Heroes Glory Story about St. Kateri (which is paired with a story about St. Cecilia and selling for half-price through the Friday of this week!)

Plus, since my children have always been fascinated by the interview with Jake Finkbonner on the Glory Stories CD, we might also view the following ABC News clip I found online, so my children can see the young man whose miraculous healing led to Saint Kateri's canonization.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Then, we will expand our understanding of St. Kateri's story by reading and chatting about St.. Kateri using personal and library books in our book basket, to include:

a book that has some dated language, but is thorough and engaging,204,203,200_.jpg
a new-to-us family read together (or perhaps assigned reading for my oldest if he's done with his current saint book)

Jackie's Special Halloween, which may be out of season, but is cute and includes St. Kateri
 Loyola Kids Book of Saints, which has wonderful child-friendly bios of the saints

Perhaps we will also read the Reader's Theater playlet about St. Kateri Tekakwitha FREE from Loyola Press.

Then, if we want to hop bunny trails, I may poke around with the children on the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs website, to take a virtual tour and read in depth about Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.

In Her Footsteps, which is a documentary that I noticed in our interlibrary loan system, may round out our prayer, play and learning.  (I cannot recommend or caution against it yet because I have yet to see it.  We are waiting for it to come in at the library.)

As always, I hope these ideas are helpful to you and would welcome hearing about how you honor this feast day.  Resources, recipes, prayers, traditions - all are welcome!

St. Kateri Tekawitha, pray for us!


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