Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Paintings by Robert Renaud

Saint Kateri

Copyright © Robert Renaud
© Tous droits réservés
  • Enwrapped in the turtle - showing her heritage of the turtle clan.
  • Within a circle of 'light' - a sort of 'halo' showing her sainthood
  • Scarlet colored crosses represent her being persecuted by her village
         (reminiscent of the way the woman was treated in book; 'The Scarlet Letter')
  • Design quality represents traditions of the Native American and Kateri's love of creating.
  • 3 lilies represent the Holy Trinity and how she has now become part of the Heavenly Kingdom
         as recognized on earth. But also she is considered; 'The Lily of the Mohawks'
This image was painted specifically for the occasion of her canonization celebration
at the Shrine in Auriesville on October 21, 2012.

Hidden Aspirations

Copyright © Robert Renaud
© Tous droits réservés
Painting completed in December 1998.
Scene based on an excerpt of Fr. Francis Xavier Weiser in his book based on Kateri: 'On the last day Karitha and Arosen (Kateri's wicked aunts) urged her again with many words to come along and watch at least the execution of the captives. She remained firm, however, and begged; "If you let me stay at home I shall use my time to make a nice headband for each of you." The two women finally gave in and left her. She heaved a deep sigh of relief, squatted on the low bench and began her work. Iowerano's (Kateri's uncle) dog lay down in front of her and watched the nimble movements of her fingers as she sewed the colored beads on a yellow ribbon of deer skin." Also "In the soul of this shy and gentle maiden slumbered the inherited trait of her Mohawk race; unbending determination and heroic courage."
  • Path pointing to Kateri indicates her decision to 'follow the path' of Christ and eventually leave her tribe.
  • Shadowed Face… humility/affected by small pox/
  • Wears 'scarlet cross' in a similar way as found in 'Scarlet Letter' story in the same way that she was considered
         an 'outcast' to all villagers, however, because of her purity and love for Christ.
  • Flame in front- passion and love for God in her heart
  • Pots are 'detached' (made out of clay and attached to painting) because the things of this world were not important to her.
         She would help others, specifically the sick and elderly, and gave them all she had spiritually, physically, and materially.
  • Wooden Pillar/Support - stands tall and holds the weight of all, even though it appears flawed and frail.
  • Deer Skin - curves with her outline. It is a 'symbolic' shield around her showing God's protection.
The original image is the property of the Museum at the Shrine to the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY.

Kateri - Lily of the Mohawks

Copyright © Robert Renaud
© Tous droits réservés
Symbolism and thoughts completed in spring 2006
  • Single tree in background symbolizes Kateri's courage to stand alone in her faith among her tribe
  • In her boots and hidden on the vase at the bottom depicts a turtle - she was a member of the 'Turtle Clan' of the Mohawk Indians
  • She is called the 'Lily of the Mohawks' so I placed her presenting flowers at the foot of the cross - where she has stood sharing in Christ's suffering in her own daily suffering mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • The colors presented in the background represent the Adirondacks - she is originally from what is today 'Fonda NY' near Albany.
  • The angle of the landscape as well as in the cloud formation all lead or point to Christ - which is what all Saints have done - lead others to Christ.
  • Although the foundation that the cross is on is cracked it is still strong enough to hold the body of Christ. We are like that foundation because of original sin but still should be able hold strong to our faith.
  • Even though Christ can't be seen - she knows He was there - this is why I chose to only portray from His legs down.
  • The overall painting can be viewed in two different ways - either at the break of dawn or at the end of the day. Kateri's whole desire was to give Jesus all she had from sun up to sun down.
  • And finally the shadows at the bottom of the painting show the blending of Kateri and Christ showing her desire to be ONE with Him.
The original image is part of the Vatican Collection in Rome, Italy.

Cancellation Stamp - 21 July 2006

Copyright © Robert Renaud
© Tous droits réservés

The PRINTS of each image are available for purchase from artist Bob Renaud

Contact the artist at

"All men and women are entrusted to make a masterpiece of their life." Pope John Paul II

Bob Renaud

Robert Renaud's website at

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