Spotlight on: Kateri

St. Kateri Tekakwitha was recently canonized by Pope Benedict XVI– she was the daughter of a Mohawk warrior and converted to the faith when she was a teenager. She lived a holy life, devoted to the Eucharist and Christ Crucified, and died when she was only twenty-four; she has come to be known as the Lily of the Mohawks, and is a patron saint of the environment and ecology, like St. Francis of Assisi. Her feast day is July 14.

Kateri was given to her as her Christian name, after St. Catherine of Siena, and has become a popular choice in Catholic America. It’s easy to see the appeal, in my opinion– it’s the name of an American, a Native American, a version of Catherine, and easily lends itself to the Catherine/Katherine nicknames Kat, Kate, and Katie– lots of different reasons parents might feel drawn to it.

One downside is that there are four acceptable pronunciations, which some might find bothersome:
— ka-TEER-ee
— KA-ter-ee
— ka-TEHR-ee
— GOD-ah-lee (apparently GOD-ah-lee is the authentic Native American pronunciation, but still spelled Kateri)

I know two little Kateris– one says her name like the second one above, the other says her name like the last. I also have a friend whose sister has the third pronunciation. I myself had always heard the first until I became an adult.

Do you know anyone named Kateri? How does she pronounce her name?


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