St. Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day Celebration- Lily Of The Mohawks

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is an amazing Saint and is the first Native American Saint ever to be canonized by the Catholic Church. There are really very few Saints from the Americas at all. Her feast day in the United States comes around each year on July 14. When celebrating the liturgical year at home, you do not want to miss teaching your kids about St. Kateri! You can read here about how to celebrate Saint feast days at home with your kids, and you can find more Saints to celebrate in the month of July here. Today, let’s look at some celebrating the life of St. Kateri for kids with crafts, printables, and even more resources. 

 

Disclaimer: links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means when you click through and make a purchase, Catholic Icing earns a small commission. 

St. Kateri “Quick Facts”

I always find that the more I know about the Saint, the better I can plan fun feast day activities! Let’s take a look at the life of St. Kateri in a nutshell! 

  • First ever Native American canonized Saint
  • From the Mohican tribe (Mohawk Natives) 
  • Also called “Lily Of The Mohawks”
  • Her parents and brother died of smallpox, and smallpox also left her with impaired vision and a scarred face 
  • Her mother was Christian and told her stories of Jesus as a child
  • Converted to be a Christian against her uncle’s wishes, who was the chief of their tribe 
  • Baptized as a Catholic at age 19
  • Ostracized by her people for converting 
  • Took the name Kateri, after St. Catherine
  • Deep devotion for the Eucharist 
  • Known for leaving small crosses throughout in the woods
  • Often seen wearing a blue blanket
  • Often depicted with turtles, as her father was chief of the turtle clan 
  • Vowed to remain pure
  • Symbol is a lily for purity 
  • Canonized October 21, 2012

Some Mohawk Native “Quick Facts”

It is important when celebrating this feast day that we remember that every Native American tribe had its own ways of life and traditions. So for instance, you wouldn’t celebrate St. Kateri’s feast day with anything with teepees, because her people didn’t use teepees. That would be like celebrating St. Patrick’s feast day with spaghetti because Ireland and Italy are both a part of Europe. 

  • Part of the Iroquois Confederacy, which is a group of 6 Native Tribes, the “people of the longhouse” 
  • Mohawk means “people of the flint” because they saw themselves as warriors 
  • Originally from what is modern-day New York state, but many retreated to Canada in the 1700s 
  • Lived in longhouses, and up to 60 people could live inside them 
  • Children had corn husk dolls and played a game where you throw a dart through a hoop
  • Spring was welcomed by tapping the trees and boiling the sap into maple syrup 
  • Lacrosse was played by both children and adults
  • Women wore leggings with skirts and poncho-type shirts. Men wore breechcloths with leggings and didn’t wear shirts unless it was cold. Both wore moccasins and snowshoes. 
  • Women had long hair and sometimes wore special beaded tiaras 
  • Mohawk headdresses have just 3 eagle feathers (not a full headdress) and the mohawk haircut is named after them, as the men cut their hair this way before battle 
  • Traveled in canoes made from hollowed-out logs and also sleds
  • Farmed beans, corn, and squash
  • Harvested berries and herbs
  • Ate cornbread and a variety of soups and stews 
  • Hunted with bow and arrows
  • Crafts: Tribal masks, beadwork, quillwork (using porcupine quills) 
  • Instruments: drums and flutes. They put water in the drums which give them a distinctive sound 
  • The chief of the tribe was always a man, but only the women voted on who the chief would be

Ok, I think we are ready to look at some ways to celebrate St. Kateri with kids! 

St. Kateri Picture Books For Kids

I always love to learn about the Saint with my kids before diving into feast day activities, and we usually do that through a book or a video about the Saint. Here are some resources for learning about St. Kateri with kids.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha– I love how affordable this Saint book series is! You can get this little book for just $2! Recommended for ages 4-7. 

Lily of the Mohawks: The Story of St. Kateri– the illustrations of this book look so amazing! It’s definitely on my wishlist. I love that she’s wearing her blue blanket on the front of this one! 

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks– In this book, children aged 8 to 12 can join young Kateri Tekakwitha on her path through tragedy and adventure to triumph and holiness.

Kateri Tekakwitha: Model of Bravery– The story of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha comes to life in colorful, full-page illustrations and lively text for children ages 4 through 9.

Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Maiden– I have seen this book recommended by many! It’s from the Vision series. 

St. Kateri Simple Feast Day Activity Ideas

Here are some ideas for celebrating this feast day based on the life of St. Kateri.

  • St. Kateri was known for leaving little crosses around in the woods. For a modern take on this, try painting rocks with colorful crosses and hiding them around town! You can read more about pebble painting and hiding here. Our town does this and it’s really fun! 
  • Make little crosses out of sticks. No doubt, this is how St. Kateri had her little crosses to leave in the woods! You can see my simple video on how to make stick crosses here. I also have a video showing how to make a crown of thorns from sticks. These could also be left or hidden around to make a sort of “Easter egg hunt” for kids.
  • Take a nature walk and remember that St. Kateri had to walk 200 miles to a Christian town after being ostracized by her tribe. 
  • The Mohawk Natives were known for gathering berries and herbs, so why not go berry picking? Here where we live her feast day is prime strawberry picking season. Search for a U-pick farm in your own town. 

St. Kateri Printables For Kids

In my Catholic ABC Saints, you will find St. Kateri for the letter K! So you can print this easy stand-up St. Kateri craft for your kids. It can print in color or in black and white so you can color it yourself. Kids love these little paper stand up Saint statues! They can be played with like toys.

I also have a printable stand up St. Kateri craft in my All Saints’ day pack! I love them both! 

from Catholic Online. I love these!
 
from St. John the Baptist Church– these are just
beautiful and a great free resource! Scroll down past the stations.

Check out these Saint Kateri Fact Cards from The Kennedy Adventures

Saint Kateri Fact Cards from The Kennedy Adventures
 

St. Kateri Feast Day Craft Ideas

You can use the templates inside of my Saint Puppet Ebook to create any Saint you wish! St. Kateri included! I don’t know exactly why kids love paper bag puppets SO MUCH, but these are absolutely always a hit! 

My kids absolutely adore Saint peg dolls, and they have hands down been the most played with toy in our home among 4 children! You can see the St. Kateri peg doll here that we got from our peg doll exchange. If you’re feeling crafty, paint one with your kids! You may be surprised how young kids can make their own peg dolls. Check out my printable Saint peg dolls to get your collection started on the easy! 

I also have a video on how to draw your own St. Kateri. The post also includes a free printable coloring page!

Fun St. Kateri Recipes And Food Ideas

We love to celebrate feast days with fun food around here! Let’s take a look at some recipe ideas for St. Kateri’s feast day.

Cornbread was an absolute staple for the Mohawk Natives! You can find an authentic Mohawk cornbread recipe here and also learn about cornbread from a Mohawk perspective. 

The Mohawk tribe also ate many soups and stews. You can find a Mohawk nation corn soup recipe here.

Because St. Kateri’s father was chief of the turtle clan, we like to celebrate with chocolate turtles! You can purchase them in the candy section of the store of find my recipe to make your own chocolate turtles here. I love these because they actually look like little turtles and they’re SO CUTE!

Maple syrup was a big part of the end of winter to the Mohawks, so try out some maple sugar candy or eat maple syrup on pancakes for breakfast or dinner! Yum! 

 
 
You can find more Saint feast days and fun ways to living the liturgical year in July here.
 

Comments

  1. lol they in fact, did not live in teepees. My grandfather is a mohawk and Kateri's father was a mohawk. Her mother was algonquin. They lived in longhouses. This is still a great assortment of activites for learning about native americans in general. I chose Kateri as my Confirmation Saint when I was baptised/confirmed 3 years ago 😉 I found more info about Mohawks here: http://www.bigorrin.org/mohawk_kids.htm

  2. oh and we will be using many of the resources you listed! Thanks so much for finding them for us!!! You're awesome!

  3. Sarah Harkins says

    very cool. I will forward this to my sis whose name is Katherine and whose patron saint is Blessed Kateri.

  4. Thank you!

  5. Samantha says

    I love these ideas, Lacy! Thanks once again for putting these together for the Catholic community. You're a very special lady.

  6. Great Idea, thanks for sharing
    God bless you

  7. I am doing a project on her

  8. Eugena Buena-Douglas says

    Please be more culturally sensitive, as a Native myself- we don not wear “costumes” but we wear Regalia.

    • Hi Eugena –

      Lacy was definitely not saying that Native People wear costumes. Rather, that the things she had linked to were costumes. I looked up a definition of the word costume just to be sure that it seemed appropriate here and not out of line, and it was listed as “a set of clothes in a style typical of a particular country or historical period.” That seems to fit this instance since she’s referring to something kids would make that was not necessarily authentic or an actual piece, but just in the style of it.

      It seems to me like it might be more culturally insensitive to call those items linked to regalia since they’re just things like a paper bag vest and a t-shirt, but do you feel that is incorrect? (Honestly asking because we want to be sensitive and aware in the way we talk about things.)

      Angie, Catholic Icing Project Manager

  9. jennifer r hebert says

    Hi! FYI Catholic Schoolhouse Tour 1 Week 2 references this post claiming a St. Kateri themed snack and I don’t see it on here! 🙂 I love the rest of the ideas, too!

    • Hi Jennifer –

      It was probably something that Lacy linked to previously from a site that is no longer available so it was removed from the post rather than being a dead link.

      Angie, Catholic Icing Project Manager

    • Hi! I just wanted to pop on and say that originally I had linked to a tipi themed snack idea for St. Kateri, but upon more research later discovered that the Mohawk Native Americans lived in long houses. So I updated the post. I’m glad you still found the resources handy. God bless!

  10. Lacy, your lists of ideas are so thorough, they are amazing! We have 9 kids and there is always something here for every personality and interest, from tearing around in the woods hiding/finding things, to quietly colouring/drawing and everything in between.

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