Sainte-Kateri Tekakwitha sanctuary

1 River Road, Kahnawake, QC  J0L 1B0

Opening hour

Summer schedule – June to September
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Regular schedule – September to June
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This shrine on the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, in the Saint-François-Xavier mission (1720), is dedicated to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first North American Aboriginal woman to be canonized, on October 12, 2012. This is where her grave is located and where her feast day is celebrated on April 17.

History of the place

Kateri Tekakwitha, the “Lily of the Mohawks

Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 on the banks of the Mohawk River in New York State, the first Aboriginal woman to be elevated to the rank of saint. At the age of four, an epidemic of smallpox swept away her entire family, leaving her with weakened eyesight and a cracked face. Kateri was raised by her aunt and uncle, who was a Mohawk chief.

After the epidemic, her community moved across the river to Caughnawaga, where she met Jesuit missionaries. She suffered much persecution at the hands of her family and tribesmen who opposed the Christianization of the Amerindians. In 1676, she was baptized as “Catherine” or “Kateri” in Mohawk. The following year, fearing for her safety, she fled to the Saint-Francois-Xavier Mission in La Prairie with the help of Jesuit missionaries who sent her there with a note describing her great devotion to God and identifying her as “La Précieuse Kateri Tekakwitha”. The mission church became almost her home. A devout soul, she prayed and fasted for her people to accept the Good News. She died three years later, in 1680, at the age of twenty-four. In less than a quarter of an hour, her face became radiantly beautiful. From then on, thanks to her intercession, Amerindians and colonists throughout New France obtained favors from Heaven, and even miracles.

Attractions to discover

  • Kateri's church and tomb.
  • The museum exhibits ancient sacred vessels, prayer books, manuscripts and native ethnic objects.
  • The presbytery dating from 1720.
  • Paintings including those donated by Charles X of France.
  • Wooden statues, including one of the Infant Jesus dating from the late 17th century.

Upcoming events

Pow Wow
July 8-9
Religious heritage days
September 8 to 10
Incentive signs at the station, fire station and war memorial
Sainte-Kateri Tekakwitha sanctuary, Kahnawake
Continue your journey through history

Visit the Youville Manor