Sacred Spring for Spring

Kateri Tekakwitha

The lady shown above in the not-great statue was a 17th century Native American named Kateri, of Algonquin-Mohawk heritage. First Reader and I took a day trip out to the countryside near Fonda, NY, to visit a sacred spring associated with her. Whether the spring was sacred to the Mohawks is a separate question. It was originally the main water supply to the village where she lived for a time, as shown in the sign below.

Regardless, its sacred status was established once Kateri was made a saint, the first indigenous saint created by the Catholic church in 2012. By tradition she was baptized in this very spring. She was an early convert to Catholicism among the Mohawks and apparently used that fact to argue against an arranged marriage she didn’t want. After that she walked 200 miles to a Jesuit-run Native American Mission near Montreal, Canada, to make sure she didn’t get married. The spring itself is a much easier walk once you realize it is located some distance from the main complex dedicated to her on HWY 5 and on a separate road. The spring is in a wooded area near the original location of the village, now marked as an archaeological site, down a gorge apparently carved out by the spring itself over several thousand years of existence.

The spring still runs, though it was barely a trickle at the time we visited. The area around it is beautiful, and the hillside is covered in Trilliums. A few were in bloom, shown in the (unfortunately not great) picture below.

Since Kateri is a saint, the spring has a shrine built over it as shown below. The water runs through an artificial basin, under a viewing platform, and out finally to the gorge below.

Worth the trip for the nature hike alone. And the AI tree identification app on my phone got a workout.

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