L’Anse, Michigian: Shrine of Bishop Frederic Irenaeus Baraga, the “Snowshoe Priest”
About Bishop Baraga, “the Snowshoe Priest”
The Story of Venerable Frederic Irenaeus Baraga is a testimony to the determination of the early missionaries to Michigan. Born into wealth in Slovenia, he became a missionary who arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1830. Baraga became fluent in the language of the two major tribes in the area: the Chippewa and the Ottawa Indians. In fact, he wrote a Chippewa dictionary in 1852.
As part of his missionary efforts he traveled by foot, sometimes as much as 700 miles in winter. To cover this much ground on foot with as much snow as Michigan gets, he adopted the use of snowshoes. Hence, he acquired the name of “the Snowshoe Priest”. His first arrival in L’Anse was in 1843.
He later became the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, (originally Sault Sainte Marie).
About the Bishop Baraga Shrine in L’Anse, Michigan:
The Shrine here is quite basic: there are some picnic tables, a place to light candles, and overlooking it all is a statue of this marvelous priest. The size of the statue is a bit misleading at first, because it is set near the bottom of a hill so you do not realize how big it really is until you get up close.
It is a wonderful place for prayer and reflection. Nearby, on private property, is the Bishop Baraga Shrine Gift and Pastry Shop.
Venerable Frederic Baraga’s tomb is in St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette.
Traveling the the Venerable Frederic Baraga Shrine:
Address: 17570 US-41, L’Anse, MI 49946
GPS coordinates: 46° 44′ 57.2532” N, 88° 28′ 27.9804” W
Tel: +1 (906) 524-7021
There is no official website for the Shrine.
At the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, a shrine in the church has been dedicated in his honor.