Saturday, October 20, 2012


Tomorrow, October 21, a local boy will be among the select few to receive Holy Communion from the hand of the Holy Father at the Mass of the Canonization of ST. Kateri Tekakwitha. Jake’s miracle from Bl. Kateri is what has made her one of our two newest saints.

Jake Finkbonner's face was scarred by a flesh-eating bacteria that invaded his body. St. Kateri's face was scarred by smallpox that killed her immediate family. Both are American Indians (Jake is of Lummi descent, a tribe just north of Bellingham) and both Catholics.

More than 300 years after her death, Jake was fighting for his life. Necrotizing fasciitis, or Strep A, had invaded his body and bloodstream through a small cut after being hit by a basket
ball.  Jake was admitted to a hospital in Seattle, where every day, doctors performed surgery to remove the flesh damaged by the bacteria spreading across his face, scalp and chest. For two weeks, they put the boy, who was then in kindergarten, in a hyperbaric chamber to deliver oxygen to his body to slow down the infection.

As Jake lay near death, Father Tim Sauer, advised Jake's parents to pray to Blessed Kateri, the patroness of American Indians, to intercede. Jake spent nine weeks in the hospital, and several times the doctors prepared the family for Jake's death.

Indians all across the West were praying to Bl. Kateri for Jake, as were our nuns.  We knew of the on-going saga through friends whose children went to school with Jake and others who attended the same church..

Enrique de la Vega, AZ
Elsa Finkbonner believes her 9-year-old son's victory over necrotizing fasciitis is miraculous. "There is no doubt in my mind that he is a miracle. He had everything going against him".

Doctors who treated Jake, as well as a committee of doctors at the Vatican, came to the same conclusion. They didn't think any of their medical expertise was the cure.

Jake survived, though he bears the scars on his face, neck, scalp and chest. He has had 27 surgeries, and more are on the way. His aunt Joanne, here this summer with many local youth, some who are related to Jake, said she  feels the saint’s last miracle for Jake will be a total  healing of his skin.

From Jake’s own website: I have scars now just like that J.R. Martinez from "Dancing With The Stars".  He is also a war hero…  I most admire him for how he acquired his scars.  He made the comment that he is "proud of how he got his scars". He is not afraid to put himself out on national television even though he too has scars all over his head, face and neck. He is a true hero and someone to admire. Scars and all......I thank God that I'm alive.
Jake with his Mother & the Saint

Today, Jake is training to be an altar boy at church and still playing basketball.

Several of our monastery Oblates will be traveling with a group to witness the great event of the canonization of this first Native American saint at the Vatican.

Meltem Aktar, Chicago

No comments:

Post a Comment