St. Kateri Tekakwitha – a model for our times

by Fr. Henry Sands, Associate State Chaplain

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha made a heroic decision to respond to God’s call to live a devout Christian life through her trials and deep suffering—epidemic disease, tensions and fighting among warring Indian tribes, and the severe persecution of her faith.

Even though she lost her family, her eyesight, her physical beauty, her good health, and her village, she used all of these extremely difficult personal circumstances to cultivate a life of deep prayer and sanctity.

She is a model for our own times in that she shows us how, with faith in Christ, we can persevere no matter what personal calamities, social unrest, or religious persecution may come to us. St. Kateri overcame every obstacle by submitting herself entirely to Jesus Christ.  She is also a model for young people who are striving to live a holy and chaste life, especially without the guidance of parents.

Pope St. John Paul II, at her beatification, called St. Kateri God’s “bountiful gift” to His Church and a “sweet, frail yet strong figure of a young woman.”  It is said that St. Kateri’s last words were, “Jesos Konoronkwa,” which translates, “Jesus, I love you.”

At her canonization Mass, Pope Benedict XVI remarked on the miracle of grace in her life, how she rose to such a height of sanctity despite the circumstances of her upbringing, which would otherwise have been detrimental to the fostering of a Christian vocation.

“Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are, Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the First Nations and in all of North America! May God bless the First Nations!”

St. Kateri is the patron saint of the ecology and the environment, orphans, Native Americans, and people ridiculed for their piety. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in January 2013. © The Catholic Company

July Message from the State Deputy

Let me take this opportunity as we move steadfast into the beginning of the fraternal year to invite you to take part in two tasks that lie before us. As life continues to evolve and emerge from the long, but necessary, restrictions that were placed on us over the last year and half, we may find ourselves with the opportunity to see and interact with more people. As Knights and as Catholic families, we have an intrinsic obligation to offer a helping hand, an open door, and a friendly smile to our neighbor wherever we can.

This is most especially true when it comes to welcoming our brothers and sisters back to Mass at our local parishes. This is the first task that I ask you to consider – please work with your councils to help your parishes in welcoming the faithful back to Church. This may take the form of volunteering to be greeters or ushers, or perhaps your council can offer to put on a social event after Mass, even more so maybe your council can work with your parish to make phone calls inviting parishioners back. The Knights of Columbus has developed the COVID Recovery Plan which outlines the different ways a council can re-energize and re-invigorate not only your councils, but also your parishes.

The second task I would ask you to consider is to invite one man in your social circle, your family, your workplace, your parish, or your local community to join the Knights of Columbus. You know the difference that membership can make in someone’s life – share with them your story. We must offer the opportunity to be more than a man – to be Knight – to every eligible man that we know. Not because we must meet a recruitment goal, but because this is our mission – the mission of our founder, Blessed Michael McGivney – a mission needed now more than ever. We cannot continue with business as usual.

Our Supreme Chaplain, Archbishop Lori, commented at the Organizational Meeting of State Deputies that these are perfect times to ask: “What would Blessed Michael McGivney do?” He would not give in to discouragement, defeat, or weariness, and he would not quit even in the face of criticisms from his peers – so too we must never quit in trying to advance the mission of the Knights of Columbus. Let us be innovative, inviting, and serve our communities with integrity now and well into the future.

Fraternally Yours in Christ,


A New Fraternal Year…

My Brother Knights and Families,

I am humbled to be addressing you for the first time as the State Deputy of the District of Columbia. My sincere thanks go to the state officers and grand knights for placing your trust in me, and in my family, to lead the jurisdiction over the next year. I know that I speak on behalf of all the state officers, district deputies, and staff, that we are looking forward to collaborating with all of you to make a difference in our communities, strengthen our parishes and college campuses, and leave no neighbor behind.

As we enter the summer months, we are blessed to be moving out of the pandemic and in many ways moving closer to business as usual. While we must remain vigilant to curtail the spread of COVID and ensure the safety of our families, there is an opportunity for us to begin to emerge stronger and more vibrant than before. I encourage you, as Knights of Columbus, to take this opportunity by the horns and not only re-engage with your council, but also with your parish and local community. We must be there to offer a hand to those who need it most – we must be Good Samaritans.

Please know of my prayers and well wishes for a successful start to the fraternal year. You will be hearing from the State Council regularly as we implement programs and events designed to inspire, empower, and encourage you to be the best Knights you can be. I know that we are all busy, however, we must make the time for something – and I ask you make the time this summer for the DC Knights of Columbus.
Vivat Jesus!

Fraternally in Christ,

Chris Pierno

State Deputy