Monday marks one year since a Mohawk Valley woman made world history. Kateri Tekakwitha was the first Native American entered into Sainthood. And as YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, people from all over gathered at her birth place in Montgomery County, to celebrate the anniversary.
FULTONVILLE, N.Y.-- It's been one year since Kateri Tekakwitha became the first Native American entered into Sainthood. "Means a lot that we can finally pray to one of our own," said Vicky Phillips.
Monday, hundreds gathered for a special celebration mass at the Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine, where Kateri was born more than three centuries ago. Phillips said, "They want to walk on the grounds she walked on."
Margie Pavin and her brother came all the way from New York City; a small price to pay for the irreplaceable gift Margie says Kateri helped give to her.
"Twenty-one years ago I had cancer, and I prayed to three blesseds at that time, and Kateri was one, and I'm still here," said Margie.
Samuel L. Russo Jr. and his wife have been making the trip from Utica since the shrine opened for the season back in May. Russo said, "It means a lot to be here because I see a very tremendous spiritual value."
"We have found out over the past year that more and more people are finding out who she is," said Father George H. Belgrade.
To mark the milestone, Native Americans from the Mohawk Reservation helped Father Belgrade bless the shrine's newest Kateri Statue which will be kept in a new building opening next season as the designated Kateri prayer room.
Father Belgrade said, "Many people come just wanting to be in the presence of where she was born."
"She's helped a lot of people, we have to start writing a book of all the miracles she's performed," said Phillips.
And all they say she has yet to do.