With Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha about to be declared a saint, new attention is focusing on the American boy whose miraculous healing is making that possible:
Pope Benedict XVI has decreed that a Sandy Point boy’s recovery from the flesh-eating bacteria that nearly killed him in 2006 is a miracle that can be attributed to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha’s help, making possible the canonization of the first American Indian saint in the Catholic Church.
Monsignor Paul A. Lenz, the vice postulator for the cause of Blessed Kateri, confirmed on Monday, Dec. 19, the link to Jake Finkbonner.
Doctors who treated Jake, as well as a committee of doctors at the Vatican, came to the same conclusion, Lenz said.
“They didn’t think any of their medical expertise was the cure,” he explained. “They thought every night he was going to die.”
As Jake lay near death, the Rev. Tim Sauer, a longtime family friend, advised his mom and dad, Elsa and Donny Finkbonner, to pray to Blessed Kateri, who is the patroness for American Indians, for her intercession.
That is akin to asking Blessed Kateri to pray to God to perform a miracle on Jake’s behalf. The boy is of Lummi descent.
The Vatican decided Jake’s recovery was a miracle that is beyond the explanation of medicine and that could be attributed to the intercession on his behalf by Blessed Kateri, who was born in 1656.
To his family, who are devout Catholics, there’s no question that a miracle occurred.
“In my heart, in all of us, we’ve always found that Jake’s recovery, his healing and his survival truly was a miracle. As far as Blessed Kateri becoming a saint, it’s honorable to be a part of that process,” Elsa Finkbonner said.
She said Jake, now a sixth-grader at Assumption Catholic School in Bellingham, was excited by the news and also the opportunity to attend a ceremony for the canonization.
“He’s excited to meet the Pope. I think that’s going to be the icing on the cake for him,” Elsa Finkbonner said.