"Lily of the Mohawks: A light to the nations"
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Kateri Tekawitha was born into the Mohawk tribe, a member of the turtle clan, near present day Auriesville, New York. The symbols within the artwork are intended to relate the following inspirational story.
turtle upon the rock represents how Kateri, as a member of the Turtle clan, discovered her purpose and calling in life by anchoring her spirit upon the Rock (i.e., "Upon this Rock, I will build My Church").

The handmade crosses upon the trees reveal the cherished pastime and a creative devotion of Kateri who loved to fashion and place them upon the trees of the forest, as tangible reminders of the endearing and enduring Presence of Christ.

The gathering of the pinecones into the woven basket may signify her call to evangelize whereby Tekawitha lovingly shares the gift of her faith and draws souls to Christ. Each pine cone may personify a person who she nurtured into the Faith.

The lily with three blossoms illustrates the Christian teaching that there are Three Persons in One God who is the Source of all fulfilling Love. Moreover, it connotes this virgin was christened as "the Lily of the Mohawks." Upon Kateri's grave, the carved letters declare her as "The fairest flower that ever bloomed, brief but ever so resplendent with light."

Within the serene solitude of the forest, our beloved Saint learns the simple yet profound lesson of the Spirit in the scriptures: "Be still and know that I am God." As Tekawitha perseveres in the call to prayer and personal meditation upon the Life of Christ, God graciously bestows upon her the gift of contemplation. This gift may be understood as when a soul ascends further along the spiritual journey towards union with God, He gradually and actively brings the faithful soul into a deep restful surrender, a longing, and transforming experience of His Indwelling Presence.

radiant portrait of Kateri Tekawitha attempts to exemplify the Indwelling Divine Presence, the transfiguration of her spirit through the grace of God's Light and Love:

  • The Light enveloping her embodies the all encompassing presence of the Eternal Father,
  • The Dove resting upon her palm is a figurative expression for the Holy Spirit and His many gifts,
  • The two butterflies. The 1st butterfly perched upon her knee symbolizes Kateri pursuing the Life of Christ who is represented as the 2nd butterfly coming to rest upon her shoulder.

Saint Kateri Tekawitha gazing upon the heavens images her spirit contemplating the Light of Christ (Lumen Christi).

As His brothers and sisters, Christ gently invites all of us: "Come be My Light!"

[My model is a Contemplative Carmelite and a Native American]

The original is in a mixed media, watercolor overlay by Andrew John. © Copyright 2012, The Art of Spiritual Awakening. All rights reserved.
The accompanying story is by Andrew John.

Fine prints are available in the following sizes:
16 x 20 giclee' canvas  -  $200
20 x 24 giclee' canvas  -  $250
32 x 40 giclee' canvas  -  $300
8 x 10 art paper print  -  $15
16 x 20 art paper print -  $40