Catholics in Fredericton celebrated an Aboriginal saint on Sunday.
A week ago in the Vatican, seven new saints were canonized. Among them, Kateri Tekakwitha, the first North American Aboriginal woman to reach sainthood.
Sunday in Fredericton, Catholics celebrated the occasion in the country where she was born.
Marjorie Polchies, an elder from the Woodstock First Nation, took part in the ceremony. She was unable to be in St. Peter's Square last Sunday due to health reasons.
"When we were growing up, that picture that I carried today brought back so many memories," said Polchies. "Because we saw that in all the homes. All our friends' homes. My parents were very religious."
A small number of people at the ceremony honouring Saint Kateri Tekakwitha were in the Vatican City last weekend. Bishop Robert Harris said the Fredericton service was for everyone else in the diocese to share in the celebration.
"A woman from the 1600s, the daughter of an Algonquin and a Mohawk became a saint," said Bishop Harris. "That's extraordinary and I think Aboriginal people need to be proud of that and the rest of us need to be grateful."
New Brunswick Lieutenant-Governor Graydon Nicholas was also at the Vatican. He joked that the woman so many First Nations people love now has to be shared with the rest of the world.
"I think she's a universal saint now. Just like Saint Dominique, Saint Jude, Saint Francis of Assisi, and so many of those saints," said Nicholas. "This is why I thought our brothers and sisters in the Aboriginal community are happy, but we share also."
The prayer for Saint Kateri was read not only in Mi'kmaq and Maliseet, but in French and English as well.