Auriesville, New York: National Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs
The history of the Jesuits in North America:
In the 1600’s French Jesuits arrived in Canada and upstate New York to evangelize among the native tribes of the area: the Mohawk and the Iroquois.
Contrary to what some revisionist historians might have you believe, these were not peaceful people suddenly dominated by European influence. In fact, their savagery and immorality were such that the Jesuits in charge of the missions warned their superiors of the great hardships that they would have to endure if the volunteered to serve here. The rampant immorality and barbarism of the indigenous population was something they would surely not be prepared to accept.
The Auriesville Shrine is the site of the 17th century Mohawk village of Ossernenon. European presence in the New World heightened preexisting tribal hostilities between the Iroquois/Mohawks and the tribes of Canada. Trade competition was at issue.
But for Jesuit missionaries who came to Canada, souls were at risk. In this turbulent scenario, Father Isaac Jogues and René Goupil were captured, brought to Ossernenon, and tortured as friends of Mohawk enemies and enemies of Mohawk deities. Goupil was killed in 1642. After a year in captivity, Jogues escaped. With companion John Lalande, he returned as an ambassador of peace in 1646. Both were killed. These three Auriesville martyrs, along with five Jesuits killed in Canada, were canonized in 1930 as the North American Martyrs.
Their willingness to die for the faith is an example to the world, even more so was their willingness to forgive those who tormented them even to the point of death.
The Feast of the North American Martyrs is celebrated in the U.S. on October 19. In Canada it is celebrated on September 26 at the Shrine of the Canadian Martyrs in Midland, Ontario.
About Saint kateri Tekekwitha:
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the beloved Mohawk/Algonquin maiden, was born at Ossernenon/Auriesville in 1656 as the first fruits of the martyrs’ sacrifice. Due to persecution after her baptism, she fled to Jesuit missions in Canada. There she lived a life prayer and penance, and heroic virtue and piety. She died there in 1680, and was canonized in 2012.
About The Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs:
The Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs is located in the hamlet of Auriesville in Fultonville, NY. It was founded by the Jesuits in 1885 as a Roman Catholic shrine where “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” It is now owned and operated by the not-for-profit “Friends of Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine.”
Pilgrims can walk the spacious, grassy landscape and numerous gardens, pray the Stations of the Cross and Seven Sorrows of Mary, visit the Ravine where one of the martyrs is buried, and take in the awesome vistas overlooking the Mohawk Valley.
The Shrine is open, with Masses occurring each weekend, pilgrimages, events, and the gift shop is open daily through the summer months and with limited hours through October.
Self-guided tours of the landscaped grounds are encouraged, and include the meditation gardens and Stations of the Cross, the Martyrs’ Ravine, and chapels for prayer. The Jesuit cemetery remains an active burial site for the USA Northeast Province and the final resting place for hundreds of Jesuit priests and brothers.
All are welcome to visit from April through October.
Restrooms and picnic areas are available, but the former gift shop and cafeteria will remain closed. While there will be no scheduled Masses or religious services, the chapel remains available for group prayer or for priests traveling with pilgrims to offer Mass. Please use this form to reserve a chapel or to make other inquiries.
Traveling to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs:
The Shrine is located west of Albany, near the city of Amsterdam.
Address: 136 Shrine Road, Fultonville NY, 12072
GPS coordinates: 42° 55′ 32.4120” N, 74° 18′ 9.9756” W
Tel: +1 (518) 853-3939
Click here for the official website of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs in Auriesville, New York.
Click here for the Facebook page of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs.