Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

KATERI TEKAKWITHA’S SAINTHOOD as told by Sister Kateri Mitchell


Sister Kateri Mitchell spoke to the congregation in Saint Regis Church at the 10:00 a.m. mass on March 11, 2012. She was asked by Father Pastores to talk about her role in the First Class Miracle that brought Kateri Tekakwitha to the stage of Sainthood in the Catholic Church.

Sister mentioned that one of today’s readings mentioned that the Church would go out to all nations and that is what is happening now with Kateri Tekakwitha being elevated to Sainthood. She is being recognized by the Universal Church.

The event that happened in February 2006 was when a little boy named Jacob Finkbonner, a member of the Lummi Nation was injured while playing. He hit his lip on a pipe and it immediately became infected. His face became swollen and his parents took him to their local doctor in Bellingham, Washington. The doctor realized that he could not help the little boy and he was not expected to survive the night. He recommended that Jake be taken to the Seattle Children’s Hospital. The parents’ local priest asked the people to pray to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha for a miracle. Sister Julie Codd called Sister Kateri Mitchell and asked her to send out a message from the Tekakwitha Conference National Office to have the Kateri Circle Members throughout the country pray for a miracle for the little boy who was suffering from flesh eating disease. Another call from Sister Julie came asking Sister Kateri if she had a First Class Relic of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and would bring it to Seattle to pray for Jacob. She was going to Seattle the following week for the July, 2006, Annual Tekakwitha Conference planning meeting and said she would hand carry the relic to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

In the meantime the boy’s face was very swollen and being eaten away by the virus. He was being taken care of by a team of doctors who periodically scraped away the infected skin and kept him wrapped in clean bandages. When Sister Kateri arrived in Seattle the following week she went to the Seattle Children’s Hospital and met the parents there. The boy was in Intensive Care with his parents by his bedside. He was all wrapped from head to toe with white bandages. She had the first class relic of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha with her. She offered it to the mother but she was reluctant to hold it. Sister had the mother take the relic in her hand, place it against his body and put her hands over the mother’s hand and they prayed to Blessed Kateri to intercede for the child’s healing. When they finished praying she left the room. The team of doctors were waiting and ready to give the boy another treatment. The boy’s healing was immediately obvious as she heard later that they even mentioned the word “miracle”. The infection had stopped spreading on Jacob’s face.

Notice of this event was told to Monsignor Lenz of Washington, D.C who is the U.S. Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and he had the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle begin the process of a potential first class miracle, which would be presented to Rome. The process of declaring a Miracle began in the spring of 2006. The Kateri Tekakwitha Conference was held in Seattle in July of that year and during our visit to the Lummi Reservation the conference attendees met the boy and his family during the afternoon liturgy.

Sister told us of the sworn testimony that was necessary for this process and after she made her statement she was asked to tell no one of her part in this.

Sister told us the testimony she had to give before a tribunal in Bellingham as part of the on-going investigation as further proof that a miracle had taken place. She was held in secrecy until word came from Rome as to whether it was going to be declared a miracle or not.

This was kept quiet until the Pope’s announcement on December 17, 2011, that the first class miracle would be approved by the Pope and that Kateri Tekakwitha would be one of seven new saints. The next announcement was on February 18, 2012, when the Pope installed 22 new Cardinals. On that day they announced that the seven saints would be canonized on October 21, 2012.


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