Queen's University

First Aboriginal woman to be canonized: Queen's University professor

2012-10-22

Queen’s University School of Medicine professor Jacalyn Duffin is available to discuss the upcoming sainthood of Kateri Tekakwitha. The Vatican has announced her canonization set for October 21 on the basis of a miracle of healing of a young boy with flesh eating disease of the face.

“Kateri Tekakwitha was a young woman of Mohawk origin who lived both in the United States and Canada. She was a survivor of smallpox which had disfigured her face. She died in 1680 at age 24, at Kahnawake near Montreal. Her cause for sainthood has been a long-standing project on both sides of the border,” said Dr. Duffin.

Dr. Duffin is a medical doctor, a historian and the author of Medical Miracles: Doctors, Saints and Healing in the Modern World, an Oxford University Press book which reviews 1,400 miracles used in canonizations from 1588 to 1999. Back in the 1980s, Dr. Duffin – who is an atheist – was involved as a medical expert in the Vatican’s canonization process of the first Canadian-born saint Marie-Marguerite d'Youville. Dr. Duffin examined bone marrow slides from a case of leukemia that was later identified as the third and final miracle in the cause or as a healing miracle.

Her next book, Medical Saints: Cosmas and Damian in a Postmodern World will appear in 2013 (also with Oxford).

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Anne Craig at 613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca or Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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