Petition To The Pope (ca. 1885) For Recognition of Catherine Tegakwita, Blackgown Isaac Jogues & Brother Rene Goupil
With the recent announcement that Kateri will be recognized as a saint, it’s interesting to take a look back on this earliest petition to the pope (1885).
A beautiful petition for the Indians has already been written, in the language of the Flatheads, by an old missionary of that tribe, and it has been signed by their chiefs. So also the chiefs of Catherine’s own village have signed their petition to the Holy Father. The writer has before him now the Flathead petition in three languages; he considers that this paper would be incomplete without an English version of this touching address. It is as follows:
“Our Father The Pope:
“Though we Indians are very poor and miserable, yet our Maker had great pity on us and gave us the Catholic religion. Moreover, he had pity on us again and gave us Catherine Tegakwita. This holy virgin, an Indian like ourselves, being favored by Jesus Christ with a great grace, grew up very good, had great love for our Maker, and died good and holy, and is now glorious in heaven, as we believe, and prays for us all. This virgin, we believe, was given to us from God as a great favor, for she is our little sister. But now we hope that thou, our Father, who art the Vicar of Jesus Christ, wilt grant us a favor likewise: we beg thee with the whole of our hearts to speak and say: ‘You Indians, my children, take Catherine as an object of your veneration in the church, because she is holy and is in heaven.’
“There are also two others who, though Frenchmen, yet are as if they were Indians, because they taught the Indians the sign of the cross and the way to heaven; and for this they were killed by bad Indians. Their names are Blackgown Isaac Jogues and Brother Ren£ Goupil. We wish to have these two also as objects of our veneration, as our protectors and our advocates.
“If thou givest us these three as our Patrons our hearts will be glad, our behavior will be good, and our children will become perfect; also a great many unbaptized Indians will enter into the Catholic Church and will see the glory of heaven.”
The Catholic World
Paulist Fathers, 1885
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