Every spring semester, the students of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy (OLSWA) in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, make a special pilgrimage to celebrate the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Jesuit Martyrs, Sts. Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalement.
The Academy makes the four-hour trip each March to Midland, Ontario, the site of the Jesuit Martyr’s Shrine. According to OLSWA, the pilgrimage includes making the Stations of the Cross, prayer before the relics of the saints at the church Sainte-Maria Among the Hurons, and a visit to the site of the first Mass in Ontario which took place in 1615. But that’s not all:
The third stop is St. Louis, where St. Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalement, along with a number of Hurons, were taken during an Iroquois raid on the village in 1649. Here the pilgrims listen to an account of the capture, and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Then it is off to the final site, that of St. Ignace, where Sts. Jean and Gabriel, with their Huron companions, were brutally tortured and killed for their faith. Professor John Paul Meenan, who has led the pilgrimage each year since the founding of OLSWA, reads an account of the horrendous martyrdom, and pilgrims have the opportunity to pray silently at the cross which marks the site of the saints’ deaths. Fittingly, the pilgrimage concludes here with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
One OLSWA students related his experience taking part in the pilgrimage for the first time:
For me the highlight of the day was being able to walk and see the places where our Canadian Martyrs worked and died. Additionally, being able to do all of these things on the day of St.Jean de Brébeuf’s death was truly inspiring. Furthermore, the pilgrimage was an amazing opportunity to pray and have Mass celebrated on the very ground where 353 years ago these men shed their blood for Christ and his Church. This was a great experience for me and I would say that it was one of the highlights of my year.
More information is available on the Academy website here.
Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy is promoted by The Cardinal Newman Society in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.
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