Thursday, December 27, 2012

Essential Oils for good health

For years, I have used essential oils around the house, for home remedies, healing, purifying the air, cooking, massage,  in laundry and in bath products. I can't imagine my life without them. 

 Last year when I developed the Levaquin toxicity, I began searching for as many  natural products as possible. I try to eat as much organic products, eat an anti-inflammatory diet, and use holistic treatments as much as possible. Although I have a long way to go in recovering from the Levaquin and now, Hashimotos disease, I am confident that using natural methods and bio-identical medications are the way to go. 

Since I am going through a bit of a writing slump at the moment, thought I would let you know about a company that I just became affiliated with. I used to use Young Living products all the time, and while they were great, I had several reasons for discontinuing my use of their oils.  To my amazement, I found this great company doTERRA essential oils and believe they are far superior to any other essential oil company-- I am sure you will love them as much as I do. 

Here is some info on their products:


  • doTERRA Wellness Philosophy
 dōTERRA™ Essential Wellness is a company founded on a wellness philosophy of healthy lifestyle choices and informed proactive participation in one's own healthcare alternatives. dōTERRA's Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade™ essential oils and other wellness products are specifically formulated to support a wellness philosophy of eating right, exercising, resting and managing stress, and reducing toxic load. dōTERRA also teaches informed self care alternatives and encourages people to take a proactive role in their medical care. Our mission as a company is to teach people to live more healthy, productive lives and to share with others the blessing of a lifetime of wellness.

  • CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade)
In addition to being 100% pure and natural, dōTERRA's Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils are subjected to further quality testing that ensures the correct composition of the active natural compounds found in each oil. Even though an essential oil may be 100% pure, if the right species or part of a plant has not been used, or if the plant has not been grown in the right environment or harvested at the right time, or if it has not been distilled under the right conditions, the natural chemical makeup of the extraction will not provide as predictable and powerful a benefit. In some cases, the wrong plant harvested at the wrong time may result in an extract that contains harmful levels of some constituents.





How to sign up with doTERRA!


In order to get to the online application {CLICK HERE}.  This will take you to mydoTERRA website and just so we're clear...you would be enrolling under me-Karen Mahoney.  I would be honored to be your upline and assist you in learning all about essential oils and optimum health!

At the bottom left corner of the homepage, click on SignUp/Join.

Step 1:  Select Independent Product Consultant.  This level of membership will give you the deepest discount (25% on all products) but will NOT obligate you in any way to sell or buy.  Bonus!  If you enroll as an IPC you will qualify for the: December Only Promotion: FREE Frankincense 15 ml bottle (valued at $93)

Step 2:  Application:  You will see my name at the top of the application, Karen Mahoney

Step 3:  Next, fill out the billing, shipping and contact information forms.  Please take the time to check the contact by email.  These options will allow me to send you even more information on occasion!  

Step 4:  Now you'll sign up for your new and FREE Virtual Office!  An amazing tool doTERRA provides for all your uses: such as ordering, editing orders and shipping information and, if you so choose...a one stop work place to run your doTERRA business from.  You'll love your Virtual Office no matter what level you choose!

Step 5:  Terms and Conditions

Step 6:  Virtual Office Usage Agreement

Step 7:   Start up Order Form
This is where you will see a list of the enrollment kits available and what's in them.  Each enrollment kit has the $35 membership fee rolled into the purchase price.

Should you decide you want to order your own list of oils, that's possible too!  If this is the case:
  • Select the Introductory Packet from the enrollment kit list.  This is your membership fee of $35.
  • To order separate items, use the Optional Form with 5 lines of pull down menu bars.  
  • Select your items and select a "quantity".
  • **To qualify for the December Promotion for a FREE bottle of Frankincense -your order must total 200PV or more.
  • Select your preferred shipping method.

  • Step 8:  Loyalty Rewards Offer  (Optional)  This is doTERRA's monthly Loyalty Rewards Program.  If you'd like to set up an order for next month, feel free to do so!  But, it's completely optional and you can always go into your Virtual Office later to set up your next order at your convenience!

    Step 9:  Startup Order
    • This is where you will see the order your created.
    • Pay attention to the Total Volume column.  In order to qualify for the**December Promotion, your final selection needs to show a total of 200PV or more.
    Step 10:  Payment method

    Upon successful submittal of your application you'll be give your new membership ID# and access to your new Virtual Office!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

St. Anne receives St. Casimir’s pews for Christmas

Written by Karen Mahoney, Special to your Catholic HeraldThursday, 20 December 2012 10:18

Little did Bill and Melissa Waddle realize when that they joined St. Anne Parish in Pleasant Prairie this month that part of Bill’s past would merge with his new life. When he was young, he spent many Sundays and holy days of obligation serving the parish priest at St. Casimir Parish, Kenosha, as an altar server. He remembers seeing his parents and family members proudly watching him from the pews.
pewsVolunteers at St. Anne Parish in Pleasant Prairie clean pews and anchor them to the concrete floor after they were moved from St. Casimir Parish in Kenosha to St. Anne to replace metal folding chairs at St. Anne.As he and Melissa anxiously await the birth of their quadruplets in April, they expected to spend each Sunday morning as they always do, participating in Mass while sitting on the metal folding chairs that line the concrete floor of St. Anne Church.
Although Mass was celebrated for the first time in their new building on Sept. 11, 2004, the church was far from complete, as lack of finances precluded completion of the interior, including pews, kneelers and a pipe organ.
Thanks to the generosity of the parishioners of St. Elizabeth Parish, Kenosha, members of St. Anne Church are getting one of their long time wishes granted this Christmas. They will sit on pews for the first time since the parish was established in 1998, and, ironically, the pews are from the shuttered St. Casimir Church. Members of St. Anne Parish and students from St. Joseph High School moved the pews to St. Anne on Saturday, Dec. 15.
“It is a great feeling to be getting these pews – I didn’t even know that St. Casimir still had them; this was a surprise to me,” Bill said. “It is a great feeling to know that I can share my faith with my family from when I was younger. I wouldn’t be able to take my children to St. Casimir, but to know that I can share it at my new church I call home is a great feeling. My wife and I are excited for this journey.”
When Tom and Sue Kratowicz were married, both had dreams of joining St. Casimir Parish, where Tom was baptized and spent most of his life. His earliest memories included climbing on the wooden pews, dropping the wooden kneelers on the floor by accident, listening to the enormous pipe organ during Sunday Mass, and feeling at home with his parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles by his side.
“When they closed the church in 2000, we were so sad,” said Sue, who said that Tom had fond memories of attending religious education classes and helping at parish festivals, “So we decided to just join a brand new parish for the both of us. We have been members of St. Anne since 2000, before our current church was built.”
According to Fr. Sean Granger, pastor of St. Elizabeth Parish, his parish inherited the St. Casimir campus after the archdiocese closed the church.
The vacant building has not been maintained. 
“We knew that St. Anne needed pews, and thought it might be nice if we could donate the pews to be used for the original purpose that they were donated for,” said Fr. Granger. “I spoke with Archbishop Jerome Listecki about it and he liked the idea of upcycling to another church. He thought it was a great example of working together and of collaboration in the area.”
Until now, the numerous folding chairs rattled along the concrete floor and served as makeshift pews for the 930 households that comprise the parish. Having 50-60 pews in the worship space is exciting for Fr. Robert Weighner, St. Anne pastor, who expects to be able to seat 450 to 500 parishioners with the pews.
“My plan is to fill in the pews and then fill in along the side with chairs,” he said. “This was an extremely needed donation and greatly wanted. This is a wonderful gift and fills me and my parishioners with great joy.”
For the Kratowiczes, the pews have an extra special meaning attached to them, as some of the pews have the nameplates of their relatives on them.
“I heard about this from one of Tom’s aunts that when St. Casimir had a fundraiser for the church many years ago, they placed nameplates on the pews for those who donated,” said Sue. “I am not sure if Fr. Bob will keep the nameplates on the pews, but I would like to have them if he decides to take them off. Having his family’s history in our church is just incredible.”
The generosity of St. Elizabeth members has created a childlike enthusiasm among parishioners that they have not experienced in a long time, according to Margie Mandli, leader of outreach ministry.
“This is so wonderful to have the pews and awesome to be able to kneel at those sacred moments, such as the consecration and the Lamb of God, as they are such a part of the Mass,” she said, as three pews were delivered earlier in the week for daily Mass attendees.
“To be able to be on our knees and adore the Lord in that way will be putting a reverence in the Mass that is meant to be. We are all super excited and it is bringing a new harmony, order and reverence that is just beautiful. It is my hope that having the pews will attract more visitors and people to our parish. We are a young and vibrant parish and having these pews gives us such a sense of completion.”
Included in the donation is the St. Casimir pipe organ, which will be installed in the spring.
“We had been looking at pricing organs, but as with the pews, we just couldn’t afford it, so this is amazing,” said Fr. Weighner. “It is a beautiful organ and the pipes are in good shape. It will have to have some updating and we will need to get it cleaned, but Fr. Sean played it when we saw it at St. Casimir, and it worked well.”
For Fr. Granger and members of St. Elizabeth Parish, the donation is something they are happy and honored to do.
“St. Casimir members spent money on these things intended for Catholic worship,” he said, “and it is wonderful that these things, that were part of their church will be used once again by Catholics for Catholic worship.”

Appeal needs $750K to reach goal


AddThis Social Bookmark Button
ST. FRANCIS — Donations to the annual Catholic Stewardship Appeal are slightly down this year, but it’s not too late to help the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s biggest fundraiser, a major source of support for the services that benefit the Catholic community in southeastern Wisconsin.
This year’s theme, “Hope Starts Here,” reminds Catholics in the 10-county archdiocese that hope is rooted in Jesus Christ who tells us he will be with us always.
At $757,070 shy of its $7,650,000 goal, Debra Lethlean, development director for the archdiocese, cites the depressed economy as a probable reason for decreased giving. Despite grim reports of a possible “fiscal cliff” that the U.S government could face at the end of the year, those who have not contributed to the appeal have not used that as a reason for a lack of donations, according to Lethlean. 
“No one has indicated that they aren’t giving because of the ‘fiscal cliff,’ Lethlean said, adding, “In general, people are comfortable giving more to charity in stable

To contribute

Tax-deductible donations
can be made online at:
https://donate.catholicappeal.org. Or to: Catholic Stewardship Appeal, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, PO Box 070912, Milwaukee, WI  53207-0192
economic times. The recession and slow economic recovery has hurt many non-profits and the appeal has felt the impact as well.”
While the number of those giving gifts is down by 296 this year, the average gift has increased each year – including this year.
“This year, the average gift is $189.18, a $9.13 increase from 2011,” said Lethlean. “The appeal accepts donations through Dec. 31, so there’s time to make a gift before year-end.”
Funds from the annual appeal benefit four areas of ministry: serving families, strengthening parishes, supporting schools, and forming priests and parish leaders.
Gifts to the appeal are used solely to support these ministries and are kept separate from other assets in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
“The largest recipient of funding from the appeal is Saint Francis de Sales Seminary for priestly formation, and the second largest recipient is Catholic Charities,” said Lethlean.
Of the funds raised, $3,156,535 is slated for forming priests and parish leaders, $2,203,493 for serving families, $1,721,301 for strengthening parishes, and $568,671 for supporting schools.
“The appeal provides expertise and guidance to our 118 Catholic schools, and training for staff and volunteers involved in many ministries, such as business managers, parish councils and committees, parish liturgists and music ministers,” said Lethlean. “Training is also provided to those involved in ministries such as Rite of Christian Initiation, bereavement ministry, engaged and married ministry, young adult ministry, and Christian formation programs that serve more than 40,000 children and youth across the archdiocese.”
Catholic Charities’ community outreach works with parishes and other Catholic and non-Catholic organizations to provide outreach to the poor, including social worker outreach, collaborating with parishes to address social justice issues and community needs, and consultation and education programs aimed at filling gaps in social service networks. Every year, the charity helps thousands of homeless mothers and children, transient men, senior citizens, the developmentally disabled and those in prison.
“Appeal-funded ministries provide the foundational infrastructure that supports Catholic life in southeastern Wisconsin,” said Lethlean. “In that, they support and train staff and parish leaders in our parishes and schools, and provide for the faith formation of our future priests.”

Saturday, December 15, 2012

We are more than conquerors

After another disappointing bout of bad news for my husband and I, I gave in to despair and hopelessness. For 3 days, I wallowed in my own tears, frustration, anger, and worry.

What would become of us?

Is God really listening?

With so much going sadness and tragedy in the world, why would he care about us?

But, He does care.

We do matter

We all do.

In prayer this morning, I heard Him.

He said to trust.

To carry the sword given to me long ago.

The sword of the Spirit.

To put on His armor and fight with every thread of my being.

Ephesians 10-6-8


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powersof this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.



There will always be a fight--as long as there is evil in the world, we have to fight until He calls us home.

So, I put on my armor and will no longer sit and be the victim--no matter what, no matter the consequences, I have the King of the Universe on my side and I will hold my head high and continue.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Watching, waiting and preparing our hearts

Today marks the second week of Advent when we discover that merely living an upright life, while good, is not enough. We need to submit ourselves in total humility to the will of God. We light the second candle today--the candle of preparation. We ready ourselves for the coming of the Lord. 



Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of Thine only-begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve Thee with purified minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

This week, we think and pray for conversion of heart
We examine our consciences
Am I living in total submission to God?
Do I pray for His lead in my life?
Do we put our wants on the back burner for the needs of others?

We wait
We prepare
We are vigilant
We keep Christ before our eyes



Saturday, December 8, 2012

Racine mom feels right at home in DR

Written by Karen Mahoney, Special to your Catholic HeraldThursday, 06 December 2012 09:59


Living among the comforts that most Americans take for granted — running water, heat, electricity, automobiles, clean clothing and fresh food, it’s difficult to roganLeAnn Rogan, a member of St. Anne Parish, Pleasant Prairie, poses with Olivia Beltre and her grandchildren, Gima, left in Beltre’s arms, and Magui in Rogan’s arms, in front of Beltre’s home, the home in which Rogan stayed during her 2008 immersion experience in the Dominican Republic. (Submitted photo courtesy LeAnn Rogan)imagine that in living without these things, one might sense a deeper presence of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, and feel more at home than anyplace else.
For Racine resident, LeAnn Rogan, member of St. Anne Parish, Pleasant Prairie, the warm feeling of home within the La Sagrada Familia in the Dominican Republic enveloped her so deeply that she returned three years later, and she has plans to continue.
“On our first trip in July, 2008, my daughter McKenna and I shared a room in (a woman named) Olivia’s home in the poor village of Ganadero,” she said. “Olivia (Beltre) became our mother for the week, mi madre por la semana y en Cristo por siempre (…and in Christ, forever). She made her income by butchering animals in her yard and selling the meat to her neighbors.”
In spring 2011, wishing to reunite with her La Sagrada friends, Rogan joined the Archdiocesan Lenten Pilgrimage, sponsored by World Mission Ministries, for her second immersion experience. On the return trip, she stayed with a family in Sebana Yegua, near the parish rectory and home of Fr. Marti Colom.
“Morena was my host,” explained Rogan. “Her husband, their two children and one niece gave up a bedroom for me. Their modest home was quite comfortable and had running water. This was a great privilege we did not have in Ganadero three years earlier.”
The idea to travel to the Dominican Republic came from McKenna, then 14, who, after learning of previous trips by several St. Anne parishioners, wanted to go. Although Rogan wanted her daughter to experience the mission trip, she was uncomfortable allowing her to travel without her. The mother

LeAnn Rogan

Age: 46
Parish: St. Anne Parish, Pleasant Prairie
Occupation: Former teacher/  stay at home mom
Favorite Hobby: Reading
Favorie Song: It's a favorite lullaby that she sings 12 months a year: "Silent Night"
Favorite Quotation: "Love never gives up" 1 Corinthian 13:7
and daughter decided to experience the Dominican Republic during the summer.
St. Anne Parish has a twinning relationship with its sister parish, La Sagrada Familia. The eight-member St. Anne team travels at least once per year to visit La Sagrada Familia, and works to educate parishioners and involve them in prayer and support. Before the eight-day trip, Rogan and McKenna learned about the relationship which is in its 32nd year.
“Living with the poor is not easy. I was especially mindful that my 14-year-old daughter might find it especially challenging to live without a working shower. I found it useful to think of the immersion experience as a little like camping and figured I could do without a real bathroom for a few days. One really appreciates warm, running water after a mission trip,” she explained. “Almost immediately though, I fell in love with the people. I felt such a deep, warm and overwhelming love for the Dominicans that I found myself ‘verklempt’ (a Yiddish term for choked up, or close to tears) much of the time.”
Throughout each immersion experience, Rogan integrated her life with those of area residents, making friends, building relationships, and learning the culture. She visited a jail, schools, nutrition centers, a clinic, various villages and homes, farms and churches. As she lived, ate and prayed alongside the families, the conveniences of home faded.
“We read books to children, served them meals, sat under the shade of trees with the aged, listened at a town hall meeting, went to Mass many times, fed pigeons, sang songs, brought bleach to the prison during the Cholera outbreak after Haiti’s earthquake, played in the ocean and on the beach with the children,” she said. “We loved. We hugged. We kissed. We held one another. We loved.”
Because of her 16 days in the Dominican Republic, Rogan has life-long friends who live a half a world away. The most rewarding aspect of the experiences was the opportunity to see the face of Christ in the people who have become very dear to her, she said.
“When they hurt, I hurt; when they are full of joy, my heart overflows,” she said, adding, “If one fully enters into a mission experience, one cannot help but be transformed in some way. Though I value the abundance of fresh, clean water we have here, I cannot say that I now use it in a miserly way, or that I’ve sold all my belongings and can now do without. What I can say is that I have witnessed an example from my Dominican friends of how to be happy while living with less, and this is a valuable lesson I am grateful for.”
A former teacher, now a stay-at-home mom, Rogan has served as a catechist for the past 31 years. She began at 15 by serving St. Joseph Parish, Grafton, and for the past 10 years, teaching the 3- and 4-year-olds at St. Anne in a Montessori-based program called “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.”
She and her husband Mark have been married for 20 years and have two children — McKenna, now 18, and a student at Washington University in St. Louis, and Adam,17, a junior at St. Catherine High School, Racine.
Being part of the immersion experience is something Rogan hopes to continue.
“There is something extremely beautiful about the universal church, knowing that we are all part of that mystical Body of Christ,” she explained. “I have been his legs, and walked where he wanted me to go, and I will go again where he leads me, to be his hands and serve, to be his heart and love.”

Friday, December 7, 2012

Local travelers awed by canonization of St. Kateri

Written by Karen Mahoney, Special to your Catholic HeraldThursday, 06 December 2012 10:36

Before traveling to Rome for the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha in October, Fond du Lac native, Sister of St. Agnes Josephine Goebel gathered prayer petitions from parishioners from the Houck, Arizona Navajo Reservation she has served for 25 years, as well as from family, friends and members of the Sisters of St. Agnes.
FamilyThe Kuhn family, left to right, Liz, Al, Kateri and Maria, are pictured in Rome in October during the canonization celebration of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. (Submitted photo courtesy the Kuhn family)The celebrations began with Native Americans in beaded and feathered headdresses and leather-fringed tunics singing songs to St. Kateri to the beat of drums as the sun bathed ribbons of pink over St. Peter’s Square. Arriving well before the canonization’s commencement, Sr. Josephine found a seat in the 18th row. She went through the petitions and prayed for each person by name as she awaited the ceremony to begin.
“This was my way of bringing them along with me to Rome and to the canonization as I knew that they all wished they could be there,” said Sr. Josephine, who traveled to Rome with the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. “We arrived as daylight was just beginning and I was in the middle of a mob of people who were all trying to get in. The gate opened in front of us and I couldn’t believe my good fortune to be sitting in the 18th row from the front of Pope Benedict’s chair – it was astounding. I had such a great view of him.”
Introduced to St. Kateri in 1988
The nine-day canonization pilgrimage was a celebration for the nun who learned about St. Kateri Tekakwitha in 1988 when she took a three-week workshop offered by the Tekakwitha Conference. She has long admired St. Kateri for her faith and ability to bridge Native American spirituality with Catholic traditions.
“(Through the conferences) Native Americans throughout the U.S., including Alaska, Canada and Mexico have learned more about Kateri’s virtues, her devotion to God, her being baptized a Catholic despite opposition from her family and tribe, her prayer and teachings about Jesus,” she explained. “Her canonization will only increase their devotion to her, and be expressed by imitating her life of prayer and devotion.”
In his homily, Pope Benedict called St. Kateri an inspiration to indigenous faithful across North America.
Sr. Josephine said the Native Americans swelled with pride as one of their own was declared a saint of the Catholic Church.
Each day of the pilgrimage, she attended Mass at one of the major churches: St. Peter Basilica and St. John Lateran in Rome; St. Francis in Assisi, St. Catherine and Dominic in Siena, The Duomo in Florence, St. Anthony in Padua and St. Mark in Venice.
“I felt that I was touching and walking in the footsteps of these early giants of faith, while being conscious that in the past century we’ve had numerous martyrs and giants of faith show us the way to God,” she explained. “Being in Rome and other holy places gave me a sense of connection to the foundations of my Catholic faith, especially in this Year of Faith. Each day the sense of joy permeated the congregation of all the pilgrims.”
Daughter’s namesake becomes saint
Traveling to Rome was especially meaningful to Liz and Al Kuhn, members of the Congregation of the Great Spirit, Milwaukee, who have such affection for St. Kateri Tekakwitha that they named their eldest daughter after her.
“Our whole family went — my husband, our 16-year-old daughter Kateri and 12-year-old daughter Maria, my dad and my aunt,” said Liz. “It was wonderful and so special to be there together as a family, celebrate Mass and receive holy Communion. We saw a lot of Native Americans there in full dress; it was very crowded – more than 80,000 people were in the square.”
A white Methodist family adopted Al, part Menomonie Nation and part Ojibwa Nation in the White Earth Band, when he was a child. He grew up Methodist and converted to Catholicism after meeting Liz. The couple was married 17 years ago at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, Milwaukee.
“After we got involved at Great Spirit, Al got in touch with his Native roots and practiced Native ceremonies and the Catholic faith,” said Liz. “He has his heart with the Native ceremonies and still practices the Catholic faith. When we had our daughters, we wanted them to have names to reflect their heritage, so Kateri was named after St. Kateri and Maria is Maria Rosa after Our Lady of Guadalupe. When Mary appeared, she appeared as Mestiza, half European and half Native indigenous, and we thought her name was fitting as well.”
Some not pleased with canonization
While some Native Americans view St. Kateri’s canonization as distasteful to Native American culture, others view it as joyful. Some Native Americans are comfortable merging their roots with Catholic culture and others feel that Catholic Native Americans have renounced their native traditions and find the canonization disturbing.
Liz said that she appreciates St. Kateri’s spirit that was alive and present before her conversion to Catholicism.family2Mark Thiel and his wife, Pat, were among the 80,000 people in Rome in October to celebrate the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be beatified. Thiel is leader of the Tekakwitha Special Collections University Archives at Marquette University. (Submitted photo courtesy Mark Thiel)
“She learned her Catholicism from the French Jesuits, but was not indoctrinated or coerced into the folds,” said Liz. “She already had that spirit alive within her. I think one of the beautiful things about St. Kateri is that we can see that God works in people, no matter where they live, where they come from or their background.”
The canonization “was a wonderful, experience and to have your child’s namesake become a saint in your lifetime is amazing. I mean, what are the odds to be able to travel to Rome with your husband, children, father and aunt and share this experience with them?” Liz said. “The best part for Al was the day we traveled to Assisi. He wore his Indian shirt there and I think he felt more of a connection to St. Francis and his spirituality rather than the pomp and circumstance of the canonization. But it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and that is why we went.”
‘Waiting 300 years for this!’
As pastor of Congregation of the Great Spirit, Fr. Ed Cook was delighted with the canonization and said members of his parish were equally excited to venerate the first Native American saint.
“We have been waiting 300 years for this!” he exclaimed. “We had a big celebration during the Mass on the Sunday of the canonization. We had an Oneida Iroquois woman say a prayer in Mohawk and she also sang the Te Deum in Oneida. Women danced to the drum and the last was an elderly woman carrying an icon of St. Kateri. After the homily, we did a harvest dance with the men on one side and the women on the other side. Following holy Communion we had Aztec dancers dancing and then we needed one last dance so everyone did a round dance around the church. Afterwards we had a huge feast.”
The excitement continued as parishioners traveled to the Cathedral of St. John the following Sunday for a formal celebration of the canonization.
Archivist pens book on St. Kateri
Being present for the canonization was important to Mark Thiel, leader of the Tekakwitha Special Collections University Archives at Marquette University. Since the early 1990s, he has conducted Kateri-related interviews. In addition, Raynor Memorial Libraries Department of Special Collections supplied photos for an exhibit about Native Catholics at the Vatican.
“My wife and I took an extended pilgrimage because we had not had a vacation this past summer, so we decided to stay on a little more,” he said. “It was an awesome crowd and a joyful chaotic atmosphere. The size of the crowd was a little untenable and full, but a very positive atmosphere and festive.”
Thiel’s interest in Native American culture began as a child. Fond memories of the annual Folk Fair and ethnic celebrations piqued his curiosity and seemed to set the path for his endeavors.
“I have been at Marquette University for 25 years and my work primarily focuses on Indian mission records in the U.S, some in Canada and some from Central America,” he said. “Before that, I worked on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for three years. My wife and I met in the Wisconsin Dells and worked with the Ho Chunk and public schools there. In 1976, the Ho Chunk Community adopted me into their family. I had no idea that my early work with the Native Americans would set the course for my life.”
The night before the canonization, Thiel was involved in the Marquette photo exhibit at a garden reception adjacent to the Vatican museum.
He distributed fliers on a book he co-edited with Christopher Vecsey, “Native Footsteps Along the Path of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha,” a collection of writings of Native Catholics and devotions to Kateri
Published by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and Marquette University Press, the book will be available through www.blackandindianmission.org
Meeting seems divinely inspired
Ironically, as he and his wife sat in St. Peter’s Square awaiting the start of the canonization, a Native American man who Thiel had never met, sat next to them.
“We started talking and learned we had some friends in common,” said Thiel. “I learned that this man was named George Looks Twice and his grandfather was a famous Indian named Nicholas Black Elk. He was a Catholic catechist and medicine man and most likely the next Native Catholic sainthood candidate.”
Out of 80,000 people, this man from South Dakota sat next to the Thiels, and it was to be the only Native American from South Dakota he would encounter the entire trip.
“It seemed as if it was a Divine appointment,” said Thiel. “I have had things like this happen before and sometimes it will alter the course of my life. I am wondering now, was this one of those instances? I will probably know much later when I put the pieces of the puzzle together.”
Any negativity surrounding the canonization of St. Kateri is unfortunate and demonstrates the chip on the shoulder that many people have about the Catholic Church, explained Thiel. He described the Seattle boy, who was the recipient of the last miracle attributed to St. Kateri, leading to her canonization, suffered greatly after the miracle.
“The family got all sorts of hate mail from people, and they were a Native family in the Seattle area; you just wonder why would they do that to a family – they are just regular people,” he said. “I think it relates to some of the symbolic issues that rest here. In some respects it has to do with seeing the Catholic Church historically as being involved in the colonization and oppression of Native Americans that has happened, and some see it in that light, rather than seeing the church as a liberator.”
Thiel said the Catholic Church has done much to champion the rights of the poor and to eliminate oppression, but some Native Americans look at the broader issue that Kateri fled to the Montreal area, gave up her heritage and became Catholic.
“However, I was at a Tekakwitha Conference in Albany in July and some non-Catholic Mohawk speakers were there, so this shows that there has been some healing going on and the divisions aren’t as prominent as they once were,” he said.