New York: Fordham University Press, 1940. First edition. Quarto (10 3/4 inches tall), original red cloth, illustrated cartographical endpapers, uncut, original paper dust wrapper, original lidded paper board box. Short tear to base of wrapper. About-Fine. Item #1095
"SHE BUILT AN ORATORY WITHIN HER HEART WHICH SHE NEVER QUITTED"
Splendid first edition of the Life and Virtues of Kateri Tekakwitha—the "Lily of the Mohawks"—an immaculate copy complete with the scarce original wrapper and box. Formally titled "the Positio of the Historical Section of the Sacred Congregation of Rites on the Introduction of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization and on the Virtues of the Servant of God, Katharine Tekakwitha," this collection of hagiography marks the official opening of the cause for canonization by the Society of Jesus. Born in 165 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, New York, Kateri was baptized in 1676 and took a vow of perpetual virginity. Said to be "weak from childhood" and "suffering from uninterrupted infirmities" as a young woman, Kateri died in a Jesuit mission near Montreal in 1680. The Positio consists of a two-part Introductory (a Statement of the Most Reverend Relator-General and a Summary of the Life and Virtues), followed by a comprehensive collection of Documents (mostly sourced from seventeenth-century testimonies of Kateri), along with a Supplement. An Appendix adds a bibliography, notes on the maps, and the concluding observations of the Reverend Relator-General, Fr. F. Antonelli, O.F.M. (dated "Rome, March 14, 1938"). This elegant edition was the predecessor to Fr. Robert Holland's prose poem, The Song of Tekakwitha (1942). Both volumes were tenderly illustrated by LeRoy Appleton and published by the Jesuits at Fordham University Press. Issued in a large format, printed throughout in red-and-black, and illustrated with a tissue-guarded frontispiece portrait, a title-page vignette, numerous head-and-tailpieces, a decorative running border, and ten full-page black-and-white plates. Kateri was pronounced Venerable by Pope Pius XII in June 1942 and beatified by Pope John Paul II in June 1980. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha became the first Native American saint when she was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2012. Cum licentia, SS. Congregationis Rituum. Rare complete, with both the original wrapper and box, and in this beautiful condition.