Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (RNS) Kateri Tekakwitha on Sunday was declared the first Native American saint, and while some see her story as an affirmation of Native Americans' place in the Catholic Church, others view it as the result of the excesses and arrogance of colonialism. By Renee K. Gadoua.

3 Comments

  1. Does Juan Diego not count as a “native american?” if so, Kateri Tekakwitha will not be the first native american named a catholic saint.

  2. “Native American” is a U.S. term, so I don’t think it would apply to an indigenous person from Mexico.

  3. During the first century, miraculous healings were performed by Jesus Christ and his apostles. At that time in Christian history, the gifts of the spirit, including the ability to perform healings, were for the glory of God and were a sign of Jehovah’s approval and blessing on the young Christian congregation. But once mature or fully established, rather than pointing to special gifts, the Christian congregation would point to its display of unswerving faith, hope, and love as evidence of God’s approval. (John 13:35; 1 Corinthians 13:13) Thus, about the year 100 C.E., miraculous healings as a mark of God’s favor ceased.
    Yet, you may wonder, ‘Why do I still hear reports of miraculous cures?’ For example, one newspaper report told of a man who was purportedly afflicted with cancer. He had tumors on his head, on his kidneys, and even deep inside his bones. His future looked grim until the day that God “spoke” with him. A few days later, his cancer was gone, the report said.
    When confronted with such a story, why not ask yourself: ‘Is this report factual? Is there documented, clinical evidence to support the claim? And even if there did seem to be a cure, does the Bible teach that God is responsible for all occurrences that appear to be miraculous healings?
    The answer to that last question is particularly important. Jesus cautioned his followers: “Be on the watch for the false prophets . . . Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works [miracles] in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.”—Matthew 7:15, 21-23.
    Clearly, so-called miraculous healing can come from a source other than God. To avoid being deceived by those who claim to work miracles in God’s name, we need to gain accurate knowledge of God, to use our God-given ability to reason, and to learn how to identify those who are doing his will.—Matthew 7:16-19; John 17:3; Romans 12:1, 2.