A summer vacation in NY always meant being my mother’s chauffeur. My mother always leveraged that opportunity to go on day trips that she wouldn’t normally do.
I have had a devotion to St. Kateri since my deeper conversion in 2010. Her faith and love was simple and strong to survive hostile family and to consecrate herself to Jesus. Her love for Eucharist was one I strove to imitate. In the first year in the seminary, I visited her tomb near Montreal.
Our Lady of the Martyrs commemorated the three Jesuit martyrs: Rene Goupil, Isaac Jogues and John de Lalande. They had worked to evangelize the native population. A decade after their deaths in the 1640s, St. Kateri would be born.
The grounds were spacious with numerous paths. Check out the map of the site here. I could definitely spend a day of recollection here wandering around. While my mother listened to a retreat conference at the visitor’s center, I went to find a quiet place to pray. I found such a place in the St. Kateri chapel, built in 1894. A chipmunk was my prayer companion as it scampered about seeking food.
After Mass at the Coliseum Church, the Divine Mercy Chaplet was prayed. The priests allowed us to venerate the relics of St. Kateri and the martyrs. It was a powerful moment to honor such a holy woman. But I didn’t have a chance to venerate the martyrs’ relics because a woman rested her head against the reliquary for several minutes. Maybe she needed their intercession more than me.
My mother and I drove to the Kateri shrine a few miles away. St. Peter’s Chapel marks the site where the original St. Peter’s Chapel was built by Jesuits. The first floor has an exhibit on the history of the Native American population in the area. There were many walking paths. One could walk uphill to the excavation of the village where the saint had lived until age 20.
St. Maximilian Kolbe still found a way to follow me. My mother and I were looking for a place to eat our lunch. I pointed to the pavilion behind the chapel. It was the Kolbe Pavilion.
I would explore more of the trails around both shrines if I return to the area.
North American Martyrs, pray for us.
St. Kateri, pray for us.