Shrine of the North American Martyrs and other family pilgrimages
Posted Oct 19 2009 10:00pm
If your family is like mine, you probably have family spread all over the country, and most vacations are spent visiting them. That doesn't mean that your family can't make a pilgrimage, however, you just have to find shrines in the area you are going to visit. I found the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY and the nearby National Shrine of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Fonda, NY just accross the Mohawk River. My oldest daughter was nine, and my middle daughter was four when my family visited these holy sites, but they were still profoundly moved by seeing the site of Kateri's Longhouse and the well she was baptized which still flows with clear water. They were able to visit the river bank where St Jean de Brobeuf (whose memorial we celebrate today)babtized Indian children, and where his body and that of were thrown after their martyrdom. Experiences like this will be remembered long after the glow of an amusement park has subsided.
The Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine Church has a North American Indian theme, and a fasinating array of artifacts in the museum below. The North American Martyrs Shrine has a commanding view of the river, beautiful and extensive grounds and facilities for large groups. The stadium-like church has statues dedicated to each of the French Jesuits who gave their lives for conversion of the Indians. It served to remind them of the often hidden Catholic heritage of the United States. A little known fact about the Shrine is that Fr Corapi had the LONG and colorful confession which brought him back to his Catholic faith, and ended with the words, "and, father, I think I want to become a priest", much to the shock of his elderly confessor!
My family may never get to see the great shrines of Europe, yet they were deeply impressed with the silent witness of the lives of these holy Catholics. We look forward to our next shrine visit; I owe Our Lady of La Leche a visit to the Shrine of Nombre de Dios in St Augustine Florida in thanksgiving for successfully nursing my three girls.
I recommend the video series of The Faithful Traveler top quality videos on various shrines, both in America and Europe. They are interesting, informative without being boring, because they offer plenty of high quality footage of the shrines they cover.
Next time you're planning a family vacation, look up shrines and make your trip something to refresh both body and soul!