There, she received her first Communion on Christmas Day 1677. She also made a vow of perpetual virginity on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1679. In Kahnawake, Kateri was known for her faith and holiness. She taught prayers to children, cared for the elderly and the sick, and would often attend mass at sunrise and sunset.
Kateri’s health deteriorated in the last years of her life. She died of tuberculosis on April 17, 1680, shortly before her 24th birthday, and was buried at St. Francis Xavier Mission. Her final words were: “Jesos Konoronkwa” (“Jesus, I love you”). Witnesses report that within minutes of her death, the smallpox scars vanished from her face, which then radiated with beauty.
It is believed that since Kateri's death many miracles have been performed through her intercession, with the sick being cured and many prayers being answered. Kateri was declared Venerable by Pope Pius XII on January 3, 1943, and beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980. On December 19, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree officially acknowledging another miracle attributed to her intervention. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012, in Rome. She became “the first native North American to be raised to the glory of the altars”.
Today, there are a number of shrines and centres dedicated to Kateri in both the United States and Canada, including the National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha at the site of her Baptism in Fonda, New York, the Kateri Centre at her burial site at the St. Francis Xavier Mission in Kahnawake, which today is in the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs at her birthplace in Auriesville, New York.