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Catholic and Orthodox Saints Born in the Present-Day United States

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.geographictravels.com/2012/10/catholic-and-orthodox-saints-born-in.html Catholic and Orthodox Saints Born in the Present-Day United States Pope
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 25, 2012

      Catholic and Orthodox Saints Born in the Present-Day United States

      Pope Benedict XVI canonized Kateri Tekakwitha
      <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekakwitha> making her the first
      female American Indian saint and the first American Indian saint not
      from present-day Mexico. Her canonization and other previous
      conversations dealing with "American saints" who were actually
      foreigners who worked in the present-day United States made me wonder
      just how many American-born saints there are. The answer surprised me
      and other geographic and demographic facts were even more startling.

      *Total Number of American-Born Saints*

      6 (3 Catholic, 3 Orthodox)

      The Catholic saints are Saints Katharine Drexel, Elizabeth Ann Seton,
      and Kateri Tekakwitha. The Orthodox saints are Saints Jacob Netsvetov,
      Peter the Aleut, and Varnava Nastic'.
      American-Born Saints by Sex*

      3 women (3 Catholic, 0 Orthodox)
      3 men (0 Catholic, 3 Orthodox)

      There are no American-born male Catholic saints and no American-born
      female Orthodox saints. Both the Western and Eastern Churches have
      roles for the feminine via the Virgin Mary but Catholicism has been more
      open in expressing, in part, a feminine nature with Mary, many more
      female saints, and nuns in public. Orthodoxy meanwhile has been
      criticized by some for loving Mary while regarding other women as sinful
      Eves and closing off their nuns from the public. Also, Orthodoxy's
      nationalist bent along with centuries of persecution from Muslims and
      then Communist states has given Orthodox a more masculine, fighting
      nature about it at times at the cost of a softer, more feminine side.

      *American-Born Saint Martyrs*

      2 (0 Catholic, 2 Orthodox)

      None of the Catholic American-born saints died violent deaths.
      Meanwhile, two of the three Orthodox saints were killed. Saint Peter
      the Aleut was an Alaskan Native who traveled with Russian seal hunters
      to California and was captured by the Spanish. According to later
      written down accounts, Catholic priests and Catholic Indians tortured
      Peter to death because he would not change from Orthodoxy to
      Catholicism. Saint Varnava Nastic' meanwhile moved back to his parents'
      native Yugoslavia and was mostly likely killed by the Communist regime.

      *Geography of American-Born Saints*

      Catholic saints packed together in the Northeast; Orthodox saints on the

      The three Catholic saints were born in Auriesville, New York, New York
      City, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The distance between Auriesville
      and Philadelphia is 200 miles. The packed-in nature of the saints shows
      a closed-in, historical Catholic realm. Meanwhile, two of the Orthodox
      saints are Alaskans. The third was born in the Midwest city of Gary,
      Indiana but had immigrant parents and lived in the Slavic part of town.
      While he was not on the American fringe geographically he certainly was
      on the cultural fringe.

      *Ethnic Demographics of American-born Saints*

      3 of European heritage (2 Catholic, 1 Orthodox), 2 of American Native
      heritage (1 Catholic, 1 Orthodox), 1 of Mixed European and American
      Native heritage (1 Orthodox)

      Saint Katharine Drexel was of Austrian heritage but born in an
      established American family. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton was of English
      and French heritage. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was a Mohawk. Saint Jacob
      Nestvetov was mixed Russian and Aluet. Saint Peter was Aluet. Finally,
      Saint Varnava Nastic' was ethnically Serbian.

      *Dates of Canonization*

      1975 - Elizabeth Ann Seton
      1980 - Peter the Aleut (Orthodox Church in America)
      1994 - Jacob Netsvetov (Orthodox Church in America)
      2000 - Katharine Drexel
      2005 - Varnava Nastic' (Serbian Orthodox Church)
      2012 - Kateri Tekakwitha

      An American-born saint has been canonized on average every 7.4 years
      since 1975. Up until 2000 there were more Orthodox-born American saints
      than Catholic but the Universal Call to Holiness' recognition of
      sainthood in many people rather than just a notable few has helped fuel
      the Catholic rise to tie the Orthodox. Many faithful pray for the
      declaration of sainthood for dozens of beatified and venerable
      American-born Catholics. The Universal Call to Holiness' push will
      likely cause Catholics to take the lead in American-born saints within a

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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