Catholic Dreamcatcher Craft Honors Blessed Kateri's Feast Day

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Catholic Dreamcatcher Craft in honor of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

July 14 is the feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Native American woman who offered her life to Jesus. She will be canonized as an official saint of the Church in October. I am very excited because she is my Patron Saint.

Kateri Tekakwitha and I have much in common. Her father was Iroquois and my father is Iroquois. She had severe vision impairments, I have bad sight. Christ whispered to her to become a Catholic throughout her life, He whispered to my heart long before I was baptized in 2007.

Dreamcatchers are well-known as a Native American tradition and, although the Iroquois did not “invent” them, they adopted the practice of using dreamcatchers. I thought it would be fun to create a traditional Native American dreamcatcher with a Catholic twist.

This tutorial is for a traditional dreamcatcher and is intended for older children and parents. For small children, skip the knots and just allow them to weave the yarn however they would like. Encourage them to weave across the center in order to create the weblike center.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Dreamcather Craft

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Dreamcather Craft

1. Gather your materials.

2. Using a pair of scissors, poke into the center of the plate and cut a large circle out of the plate leaving just the rim.

3. Punch holes around the perimeter of the plate. Punch about 16 holes evenly spaced.

4. Using your long strand of yarn, tie a loop to the top of your plate. Gently string the yarn through each hole, weaving it in and out of each hole. Wrapping a small piece of tape around the end of the yarn makes it easier to weave.

5. When you reach your loop, you will begin creating the center of the dreamcatcher. Wrap the yarn around the center of the first “in between” piece of string and then wrap it around itself and pull through the loop formed when wrapping. Pull the knot taught but not too tight and move to the next “in between” piece.

6. After repeating step 5 a few times skip one hole and then knot on the next for one round. Continue step four until there is a small hole in the center of the dreamcatcher. Finish off the dreamcatcher with one last knot.

7. Now take your medal or crucifix and open the jump ring and attach it somewhere near the center of your dreamcatcher.

8. Native Americans usually hang feathers from the bottom of the dreamcatcher. White feathers to represent dove feathers, the bird used in the Bible to represent the Holy Spirit would be perfect to hang from your dreamcatcher. First tie three strings into the bottom three holes on your dreamcatcher. Then slide three pony beads onto each string and tape a feather to the bottom of the string. Pull the pony beads down a little to hide the tape. Do this for all three strings.

9. Now you can pray this prayer before going to sleep:

Jesus Christ my God, I adore you and thank you for all the graces you have given me this day. I offer you my sleep and all the moments of this night, and I ask you to keep me from sin. I put myself within your sacred side and under the mantle of our Lady. Let your holy angels stand about me and keep me in peace. And let your blessing be upon me. Amen. From A Catholic Prayer Book, Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

Copyright 2012 Alicia Hart

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6 Comments

  1. This is great! I’ve always wanted to know how to make one of these! I’m a little confused though. When the yarn is initially wrapped around the perimeter, does it go in and out of each successive hole? The picture makes it look like it’s skipping a hole and then coming back around to get the in between holes. Also, I’m not really understanding Steps 5 & 6 – how to make the knots and how to determine when to move on. Thank for your help!

  2. Hi Heather!
    For the perimeter, you can do it either way. I found it easier just to go in one hole and out the other. On steps five and six, you will wrap your piece of yarn around the piece of yarn between the holes on the perimeter. Then, you come through the hole that you formed when you wrapped it. It is hard to explain but when you try it, you will probably understand what I am saying. Then you just go around and make your knots on each straight piece between the holes in the perimeter. You will just continue to go around and around the new holes that you made until you get to the center. You can skip holes if you prefer, too. Once you get the perimeter and the knots down, the rest is pretty much up to you. I hope I’ve explained it better. Please let me know if you have any more trouble. Alicia

  3. Dear Alicia,

    Congratulations on coming the Church – the one true Church established by our Blessed Lord himself.

    In concern for your welfare, and for your spiritual growth in the Faith, I really need to tell you this…

    A “dream catcher” is based on superstition, and it is contrary to the Faith and teachings established by our Blessed Lord, as well as His Church on Earth that is guided by His Holy Spirit;
    (Conversely, if Jesus or His Church under the guidance of the Pope and the Holy Spirit wanted to establish a “dream catcher” as a sacramental, He would have done so, or, the Church would have, and it would receive an Imprimatur [which is an official approval by the Vatican]).

    Also, please know, if you ever have any questions about ANYTHING pertaining to Catholicism — go DIRECTLY TO THE CATECHISM FIRST — even before consulting a priest. Since our Faith is VAST and deep, with 2,000+ years of history, you can very easily find well-intentioned people, including some priests, who could very well be telling you something that is entirely false.

    You will find the Catechism to be an extremely thorough, well-documented, well-explained, thoroughly foot-noted source of teaching on ALL MATERS related to the Faith and the our Holy Mother Church.

    (Also, as an aside [and not to frighten you], but I thought I’d share a real life experience regarding a “dream catcher”… a close friend of mine was praying for a woman who was ill, and, she was showing progress. At some time during her progress, someone got her a “dream catcher” because they thought it was a neat decoration. Shortly thereafter the woman died.)

    We are called to be Saints.
    To grow in holiness, in sanctity, to perfect ourselves to the greatest degree possible by cooperating with God’s Grace – which He pours out to us through His Sacraments (each established by our Blessed Lord for that very purpose).

    May you continue to grow in Faith and God’s Grace, and please – check the Catechism for yourself.

    With Charity and Blessings,
    KS

    • In response to KS’s sharing about an ill woman who was showing progress towards healing, but later died, I do not believe the woman died due to receiving a “dream catcher” as a gift. May she and all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

  4. I think that adding faith elements to the dream catcher is a great way to express faith. I like how the 3 beads can represent the “Faith, Hope, & Love” Hail Mary’s of the Rosary, and can remind us to pray. I also like the holy Cross inside the web, which to me means I ought to filter my thoughts, hopes, and dreams through offering it all up in union with Christ.

    There is a beautiful Catechism quote which ends in a snippet of St. Teresa of Avila’s writings — which includes the word Dream:

    CCC 1821 “We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere “to the end” and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for “all men to be saved.” She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:

    Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.”

    The St. Joseph Indian school teaches the children about their Lakota heritage while at the same time teaching the Catholic faith, because both are part of who they are — dream catchers as gifts are a sharing in welcoming them and knowing more about them… it can be a reminder to think of them and keep them in our prayers. And they share dream catchers that say “hope” and “peace” etc. on them. I have placed a circular image of the Nativity inside one before and they appreciated it. There have been saints who have dreamed dreams… such as St. Faustina (about St. Therese who told her she would be a saint like her but to pray very much for souls), and St. John Bosco, even St. Joseph who had an angel appear to him in his dreams to tell him the truth.

    So dreams can be regarded as important things, and if we choose to think of dream catchers in a different way — in a reverent prayerful way towards the meaning of what our faith tells us, asking God for holy dreams, for purity of heart while dreaming, and praying for the grace not to follow any powers except the Holy Spirit — then I think it pretty much baptizes that custom of having a dream catcher. It does not have to be just decorative, just like a rosary is not just decorative. If we look at a faith-strewn dream catcher and it reminds us to pray, then for us it is working as a sacramental. If the pope visited a Catholic Native American place, they would probably give him a holy looking dream catcher and he would probably accept it with gratitude. There could even be 10 beads added in a circle around the dream catcher to make it more of a rosary-like reminder to pray. The white feathers could remind us of the white dove which represents the Holy Spirit. We could sprinkle it with holy water.

    It does not have to have any superstition attached to it whatsoever — we can make it entirely prayerful if we think of it with holy thoughts. Similar to how a brown scapular should be worn un-superstitiously, and with true devotion to Mary — remembering that we belong to Mary, and asking for purity of heart to live in chastity — we can think of a St. Kateri dream catcher as a reminder to sanctify everything about ourselves to surrender our whole life to God. It could have an image of St. Kateri attached behind it to remember to ask for her prayers. As long as the emphasis is placed on faith, that’s what God looks at when He considers our heart’s faithfulness to Him. We can turn it all into loving God more.

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