Reflecting Heaven Part 25: Our Saints and Blesseds in the Apse

10-13-2021Reflecting HeavenDeacon Peter Auriemma, MD

Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, (“one who speaks like an eagle”) (1474-1548), Married Layperson ofthe Archdiocese of Mexico City (Mexico City, Mexico); the first Catholic saint indigenous to the Americas; Our Blessed Mother Mary appeared to him four times and consecrated the North American continent by her presence; Declared Venerable: 9 April 1990; Beatified: 6 May 1990 by Pope John Paul IT and Canonized: 31 July 2002 by Pope John Paul II; his feast day is December 9.

Isaac Jogues (1607-1646) One of the Jesuit North American Martyrs from France who worked among the Iroquois, Huron, and other Native populations in North America; martyred by the Mohawks in upstate New York in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon near the present- day city of Auriesville, New York, also the Shrine of the North American Martyrs; Beatified: 21 June 1925 by Pope Pius XI and Canonized: 29 June 1930 by Pope Pius XI; his feast day is October 19.

Kateri Tekakwitha (ca. 1656-1680), Layperson of the Archdiocese of Montreal (New York, U.S. — Québec, Canada); first Native American to be canonized a saint; Tekakwitha is the name given her by her Mohawk people which means “She who bumps into things;” born around 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon in Northeastern New York state, where St. Isaac Jogues had been martyred 10 years earlier; her father was a Mohawk brave and her mother was a Christian Huron; she survived a smallpox epidemic, which took the lives of her parents, but it left her scarred and partially blind; she was converted to Christianity by the French Jesuits and was baptized Catherine; she became an outcast by her tribe after her conversion; she traveled to Quebec so that she could freely practice her Faith, and she took a vow of perpetual virginity; upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that her scars vanished minutes later, and her face appeared radiant and beautiful; she was known for her virtue of chastity, as well as being shunned by her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism; Declared Venerable: 3 January 1943; Beatified: 22 June 1980 by Pope John Paul II and Canonized: 21 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI; her feast day is July 14.

Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), (Lodi, Italy — Illinois, U.S.), affectionately known as Mother Cabrini; Founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the first order of missionary nuns; she was sent to the USA by Pope Leo XIII to assist the many Italian immigrants; she established schools and orphanages despite tremendous odds, and she was as resourceful as she was prayerful; she became an American citizen in 1909; after founding 67 missionary institutions to serve the sick and poor crossing the Atlantic Ocean more than 30 times, she died in Chicago on December 22, 1917; she is the first American citizen to be declared a saint; Declared Venerable: 21 November 1937; Beatified: 13 November 1938 by Pope Pius XI; Canonized: 7 July 1946 by Pope Pius XII; her feast is November 13.

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (1774-1821), Widow; Founder of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in the United States; (New York, U.S. - Maryland, U.S.); first native born American to be declared a saint; born in New York two years prior to the American Revolution; baptized into the Anglican Church; in 1794, at age 19, Elizabeth married William Magee Seton, aged 25, a wealthy businessman in the import trade; they had five children; they were very prominent in New York society; she was a devout Episcopalian and very active in social ministry - nursing the sick and dying among family, friends, and needy neighbors; in the troublesome years following the establishment of the American Republic, the loss of several ships at sea led William Seton into bankruptcy; his health also began to fail from tuberculosis which led to William and Elizabeth traveling to Italy in order to recuperate; however, he died after arriving at Livorno in 1803; while in Italy, Elizabeth became interested in the Catholic Faith, especially drawn by the Real Presence in the Eucharist; she returned to America and despite pressure from her family, she converted to Catholicism in 1805; ostracized for her Catholic faith, she moved to Baltimore in 1809; there she founded the first religious order of American women and moving to Emmitsburg, Maryland, she established the Catholic parochial school system in the US; she overcame many difficulties, including the deaths of two of her children; she died on January 4, 1821, at the age of 46 Declared Venerable: 18 December 1959; Beatified: 17 March 1963 by Pope John XXIII and Canonized: 14 September 1975 by Pope Paul VI; feast day January 4.

John Nepomucene Neumann (1811-1860), professed Priest of the Redemptorists; Archbishop of Philadelphia; Founder of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia (Prachatice, Czech Republic — Pennsylvania, U.S.); missionary to the US from Bohemia; ministered in the Buffalo, New York area; named the fourth Archbishop of Philadelphia; served the growing Catholic immigrant population in Philadelphia - Germans, Irish, Italians and other southern and eastern European Catholics; his fluency in several languages endeared him to the many new immigrant communities, and he supervised the building of parish churches and schools; Declared Venerable: 11 December 1921; Beatified: 13 October 1963 by Pope Paul VI and Canonized: 19 June 1977 by Pope Paul VI; feast day January 5.

Rose-Philippine Duchesne (1769-1852), Professed Religious of the Society of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Isére, France - Missouri, U.S.); she was a prominent early member of the Religious Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; she founded the congregation's first communities in the United States; she spent the last half of her life teaching and serving the people of the Midwestern United States, then the western frontier of the nation; at age 71, she joined in a new mission with the Potawatomi tribe in eastern Kansas;  unable to master their language, she could not teach, so she would spend long periods in prayer; she was known as The Woman Who Prays Always; she died on November 18, 1852, aged 83; Declared Venerable: 17 March 1935; Beatified: 12 May 1940 by Pope Pius XII and Canonized: 3 July 1988 by Pope John Paul II; feast day November 18.

Katharine Mary Drexel (1858-1955), Founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People (Pennsylvania, U.S.); she was born into Philadelphia Society; the wealthy heiress used her massive fortune to found a religious order specifically for the evangelization and catechesis of Native Americans and African Americans; she established 145 missions, 50 schools for African Americans, and 12 schools for Native Americans, including Xavier University of Louisiana, the only historically black Catholic college in the US, and she staffed a mission among the Navajos in Arizona; Mother Katharine Drexel died at the age of97, on March 3, 1955; Declared Venerable: 26 January 1987; Beatified: 20 November 1988 by Pope John Paul IT and Canonized: 1 October 2000 by Pope John Paul IT; feast day March 3.

Anne-Thérése Guérin, designated by the Vatican as Saint Theodora, (Mother Théodore) (1798-1856), Founder of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (Cotes-d’Armor, France - Indiana, U.S.); she immigrated to Indiana from France in 1840, and became known for her advancement of education, especially in Indiana and in eastern Illinois; she founded numerous schools including Saint Mary- of-the-Woods College at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana; and was known for her loving care of the orphaned, the sick, and the poor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana; she was a skilled businesswoman and leader as well as a beloved general superior and spiritual leader, overcoming numerous challenges and hardships during her ministry; she suffered from poor health for most of her adult life, and died on 14 May 1856 at the motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, at fifty-seven; Declared Venerable: 11 July 1992; Beatified: 25 October 1998 by Pope John Paul IT and Canonized: 15 October 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI; feast day May 14.