Comparing Tekakwitha 's Biographers Paint A Completely Pious Life

1428 Words Oct 28th, 2014 6 Pages
Tekakwitha’s biographers paint her in a completely pious life. She maintained perpetual virginity, renounced any intention of marrying, was adept at acts of self-immolation when repenting, and above all was a quiet and “behind-the-scenes” kind of woman. “As a child, the Jesuits relate, Catherine was shy, retiring, and good-natured […] [and this] led her to shun social gatherings” (Greer 32). Apparently, a degree of social introversion and slightly abnormal behaviour are important criterion for an individual who is being evaluated for canonization. It is no doubt that Chauchetière and Cholenec see Catherine as fitting enough to analyze for this position of possible sainthood, but they actually do a disservice by not being completely accurate. In reality, according to Greer, Catherine was much more involved in her Mohawk community. This is an aspect where Greer’s account shines. He argues that the idea of Tekakwitha having the behaviour of an outcast seems “implausible” due to conflicting reports from many other Europeans (32). Women in the Mohawk community were “regard[ed] as the principal support of their families” but Greer goes on to explain that in earlier accounts, the Jesuits only mention Tekakwitha’s female relatives in passing, which is essentially problematic when historical accuracy is of such importance in hagiography (32-33).
The recurring theme of paganism does to some extent explain why Chauchetière and Cholenec had to slightly alter their written accounts of…
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