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March 15, 2024

The inspirational example of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was highlighted at an inter-university conference held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy, earlier this month.

Melissa Miscevic Bramble, Director of Operations at the U.S. National Shrine dedicated to Saint Kateri, which is located just outside the village of Fonda, addressed an international audience at the conference “Women in the Church: Builders of Humanity” to discuss Saint Kateri’s life and continuing relevance. Kateri Tekakwitha was a young Mohawk woman who lived in the 17th century. She converted to Christianity and was baptized and lived the bulk of her life at the site of what is now the Saint Kateri National Shrine and Historic Site. She is the first Native American Saint in the United States of America and Canada.

During the conference panel “The Charity of Prayer,” Bramble highlighted how Saint Kateri relied more and more on her faith during a time of virus outbreak and social and political upheaval. The conference was livestreamed on YouTube and simultaneously translated into English, Italian, Spanish, and French. It is available through the Vatican Media – English YouTube channel at

As part of the conference, participants attended a private audience with Pope Francis, who acknowledged the important work being done by the organizers and presenters. Attendees were then welcome to personally greet Pope Francis and shake his hand, which Bramble described as “a humbling and truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Saint Kateri’s life is encouraged to visit her Shrine on Route 5, along the north side of the Mohawk River. The grounds, which include Saint Kateri’s baptismal spring and the archaeological site of the Mohawk Village of Caughnawaga, are available to the public year-round. Special events focusing on both spiritual and historical topics are held May through October. For more information about Saint Kateri or the Shrine or Historic Site, please contact, call 518-853-3646, or visit

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Saint Kateri Shrine Director of Operations Speaks at Italian Conference, Meets Pope Francis: News
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