Saints have not been hard for the Roman Catholic Church to come by even in this modern era of fact checkers and scientific scrutiny. Pope Benedict XVI announced seven new, official saints on Sunday October 21, 2012, all of them with a pedigree of the minimum of three official miracles. None of the miracles seem very miraculous to me, but that is not the point. The point is to keep the Faith alive in communities that had been sadly lacking in recognized saints.
Top of the list, as far as Americans are concerned, is Kateri Tekakwitha, "Lily of the Mohawks." She is the new Patron Saint of Suicide, with a minor in self-flagellation. She is the first American Indian to become a saint (fact checkers: no Mexican or South American Indian saints? Or are we using American in the narrow, Indians almost whipped out by Anglos and French sense?)[Fact checker reply: you are right. 3 Mexican Indians were already saints.]
Benedict XVI said: "Saint Kateri, protectress of Canada and the first American Indian saint, we entrust you to the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America." That is a pretty heavy load to dump on a long-dead 24-year old suicidal virgin.
I would think the story of Kateri would repulse American Indians, or anyone else. Kateri Tekakwitha was born when the Mohawk nation was still substantial, in 1656. Her mother had been converted to Catholicism and then captured by a Mohawk chief. After a smallpox epidemic killed her parents and the French defeated the Dutch, Jesuit missionaries came recruiting. In 1675 Kateri began the conversion process and she was baptized the next year. Spurned by her unconverted village, she moved to Kahnawake, south of Montreal, under Jesuit supervision.
Along with other converted women Saint Kateri decided to practice "mortification of the flesh." She claimed Jesus as a husband. She inflicted so many wounds up herself that she died on April 17, 1680, on the Wednesday before Easter. Allegedly her skin turned white and her smallpox scars disappeared when she died, which was her first official miracle.
That sounds like suicide to me. Sounds like Child Protective Services should have rounded up Kateri and turned over the Jesuits to the police to be hanged.
Her miracles were that friends, shocked by her death, imagined she appeared to them and told them she was going to heaven, and later the usual people recovering from diseases (that people sometimes recover from) after praying to her. You can find better miracles in any psych ward.
Here is the miracle I am looking for: and end to this plague of crazy people. Crazy Catholics and Protestants, crazy Islamics and Buddhists and Jews and what-have-you.
It is not surprising that Pope Benedict XVI would encourage young Catholic women to commit suicide. He has rejected them as potential priests. His anti-female program within the Catholic Church is probably inherited from his volunteering for Hitler Youth when he was a child.
We have enough problems with troubled children in these United States without the Catholic Church glorifying self-mutilation and suicide.
See also: Kateri Tekakwitha at Wikipedia
Pope Canonizes 7 Saints at New York Times