Baltimore, Md., Nov 14, 2017 / 14:59 pm
The sainthood cause for Lakota medicine man and Catholic catechist Nicholas Black Elk took another step forward today, as the U.S. bishops unanimously approved his canonical consultation.
The Nov. 14 voice vote of the bishops took place at their annual fall assembly in Baltimore, and is the latest in a series of steps on the path to sainthood.
The motion to vote on the cause was brought forward by Bishop Robert D. Gruss of Rapid City, South Dakota, the home diocese of Black Elk where his cause was officially opened earlier this year.
Even before his conversion to Catholicism, Black Elk was a prominent medicine man “widely known as a holy man and a mystic,” Bishop Gruss told the assembly of bishops.
After his conversion, Black Elk “fully embraced a Catholic life” and became an “ardent Catechist” who would go on to convert more than 400 Native Americans to the faith, Gruss noted.
Black Elk became “an icon who reveals what God calls all of us to be - people of faith and hope, and a source of hope for others,” he added.
Black Elk was born sometime between 1858 and 1866 and, like many of his ancestors, served as a medicine man, which combined the roles of medical doctor, spiritual adviser and counselor.
He was present for the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, and the following year, he joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, which toured Europe, including a performance before Queen Victoria.