Jake Finkbonner was in big trouble: a minor injury led to necrotizing fascitis, and the bacteria chewed up his face, head, and neck in a horrible life-threatening infection. Fortunately, the family placed a relic from a 17th century Native American convert to Catholicism named Tekakwitha on his pillow (it is not clear whether it was a chunk of Tekakwitha’s bones, or one of these lockets, which you can buy for $19.99), and he got better! A miracle!
Now they’re planning to canonize Tekakwitha.
On Monday, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI formally recognized the miracle attributed to Tekakwitha – the last step on her way to canonization.
Tekakwitha, known as “the Lily of the Mohawks,” was born in 1656 in upstate New York to a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin mother. A smallpox epidemic killed both her parents and left her with partial blindness and a disfigured face. She converted to Catholicism after meeting several priests. Ostracized from her tribal community, Tekakwitha devoted herself to a life of deep prayer. She died in 1680 at age 24. According to the Catholic Church, witnesses said that within minutes of her death, the scars from smallpox completely vanished and her once-disfigured face suddenly shone with radiant beauty.
Oh, I forgot to mention…in addition to the magic locket, Jake spent 9 weeks in a modern hospital, received major surgeries to extirpate the infected tissue, massive doses of antibiotics, and apparently substantial cosmetic surgery. If only St Tekakwitha had been able to get the same, instead of relying entirely on Catholic hoodoo — maybe she wouldn’t have died at 24.
Oh, and there’s a poll. It’s got over 60,000 votes on it already, so I doubt we’ll be able to budge it much, but you can take a stab at it anyway.
“Do you believe in modern medicine?” would have been a better question. They never ask that one, though.
I do have to say I’m much more impressed with Jake Finkbonner. Here’s what he had to say about it:
There’s been a lot of media around me lately especially with the announcement of Blessed Kateri becoming a Saint based on my story. Please don’t confuse the issue which is that my survival is a miracle. We thank the doctors at Children’s Hospital for all that they did to save my life. I wouldn’t be here without them. I also thank all the people that prayed for me. Obviously, God heard their prayers. This decision to canonize Blessed Kateri is something that the Vatican and the Pope declared, not us. Although we are a part of this story, we did not have any influence on this decision. Congratulations to the Catholic Church and the Native American culture in the canonizing of the now Saint Kateri.
He seems like a gracious and sensible young man.