St. Kateri Tekakwitha Medallions
Rambusch works with its clients employing many materials to develop beautiful imagery, in this case a medal commemorating the Canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the “Lily of the Mohawks."
The “Lily of the Mohawks,” St. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), is the first Native American to be canonized. She suffered greatly for her faith, dying at 24. When her canonization was announced, Reverend Wayne Paysse, Executive Director of the Black and Indian Mission Office, approached Rambusch to strike a commemorative medallion in bronze. Our commission was to develop rich iconography to be featured on the medallion. On the front, lilies encircle St. Kateri’s countenance. The lilies were chosen because they are indigenous to the Adirondacks and the Mohawk Valley where Kateri lived.
On the reverse of the medallion is the turtle, a symbol of North America, a common creation story among many cultures in the Eastern American woodlands This symbol emphasizes the Native American’s relationship to the land and invokes the need to give thanks for the gifts we are given. The turtle also symbolizes St. Kateri’s clan. The turtle image on the medallion carries maize, squash, and beans, the three sisters of Native American horticulture. The artwork used as inspiration for the medallions was taken from a sketch by Garrison Garrow, a Mohawk artist.