Religion In Colonial America

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Colonial Religions As Experienced By Two Important Believers Catherine Tekakwitha and John Winthrop were both exceptional people for their times. Each of them lived in colonial America during the seventeenth century, but under very different colonial models and practiced separate and distinct forms of Christianity. The role of religion in French colonial society was to encourage the native population to live “pure” , devout lives. Catherine Tekakwitha’s French colonial experience was typical of her region because she lived a “pure” life, one deemed as “saintly” by her Jesuit teachers. In New England, Puritanism was the religious belief, one that stressed the creation of a perfect society. John…show more content…
Living a pure and devout life in French colonial America required mirroring the behavior not only as put forth in the Bible, but even more so by emulating canonized saints. This meant being an outcast in a pagan society, being industrious, assimilating into the French culture, practicing devotion through prayer and other means of suffering, as well as experiencing a “good death” , then triumphing over that death into eternal being. Puritanism called for the physical creation and respect of “God’s Covenant” on Earth. This entailed the creation of a society where God’s intentions were carried out by the men and women predestined for salvation, as well as all of God’s servants who strived to determine their own destinies. However, exactly what “God’s covenant” entailed seemed to be a subjective idea in colonial New England, interpreted differently each by its inhabitants. Looking at how John Winthrop’s disproportionate influence in determining what being in covenant with God entailed and how that would translate, not only into one’s everyday life, but also into the political…show more content…
A major reason for her leaving her native village behind was due to a questioning of her virginal purity, something she never wanted questioned again. She did obtain actual outsider status when she refused to marry and start a family. Kahnawake, the Jesuit compound for native converts, provided a sanctuary for her to freely practice her Christian beliefs. Not only did she pray frequently, she also began to see that true purity should be obtained through self-inflicted suffering as a means of penance for ones sins. Catherine Tekakwitha, along with a close friend, began going into the forest and flagellating themselves. Catherine Tekakwitha was also able to recruit others to her cause, an attempt at creating a Catholic “cofaternity” in which one could explore the religion in their own
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