The bronze statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, as depicted by renowned Canadian sculptor, Timothy P. Schmalz, was placed on the grounds during the summer of 2001.
Kateri Tekakwitha, called the “lily of the Mohawks” was born in 1656 near Auriesville, New York. Her mother, a Christian, was a member of the Algonquin nation and her father was a Chief of the Mohawk tribe. Kateri lost her parents and brother to an epidemic of smallpox. She was adopted by an uncle. A convert to Christianity at age eighteen, she endured much suffering because of her desire to live a celibate and Christian lifestyle. It was the practice of this Indian maiden to erect crosses in trees in the woods, to make small Chapels. Kateri was forced to flee to Canada to a mission that the Jesuits has established for Native American converts. She was noted for her deep prayer life and special devotion to the Eucharist. Kateri died at the age of twenty four, and was declared a Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1980. She was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012
In the scene above Kateri appears to be walking out of the woods, but gazes back at the Cross one more time. The turtles on the base of the statue remind us that her father, a Mohawk Chief, belonged to the Turtle Clan. The statue is dedicated to the founder of the Shrine and Parish, Msgr. Charles D. Brophy.