Native Village
Youth and Education news
January 1, 2011 Volume

Vatican recognizes Taos artist's work
Condensed by Native Village

Arizona: Taos artist Giovanna Paponetti received a thank-you letter from the Vatican after sending Pope Benedict XVI a copy of her book, “Kateri: Native American Saint.”

Kateri Tekakwitha was a
Mohawk-Algonquian woman who became a Catholic in the 1600s. The Vatican is considering Kateri for sainthood because of miracles attributed to her. These include appearing to Jesuit priests after she died in 1680 at age 24.

Kateri is the only American Indian ever considered for sainthood.

“Never in my life did I expect this,” Paponetti said of the letter.

Paponetti's 21 paintings were commissioned by a Pueblo Church in Okay Owingeh.  Each depicts an important moment in Kateri’s life. It took Paponetti 5 years to complete the paintings which now appear on the church's 18-foot high altar screen 

Paponetti hopes that
"Kateri, Native American Saint" will raise awareness about Kateri's life. 

“I don’t know why she isn’t more well-known,” Paponetti said. “I felt like I was being guided by Kateri. I am grateful that my book has found its way to the Vatican as this is the place where Kateri’s sainthood will be decided, hopefully soon.”

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