This National Shrine of the Canadian Martyrs honors the eight Jesuit saints who lived, worked, and died in Ontario and New York over 350 years ago. They came from France intent on spreading the Catholic faith, ready to give their lives for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. They built the first Church in Ontario and converted many of the Hurons – the native people.
Within the National Shrine are the relics of three out of the eight Martyrs: St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Gabriel Lalemant, and St. Charles Garnier.
Jean de Brebeuf was massive in body, strong, and yet gentle in character. His visions of the cross and of his future martyrdom were fulfilled after he was captured in March 1649. He was tortured for hours and finally martyred at St. Ignace, six miles from Ste. Marie, at the age of fifty-six.
Gabriel Lalemant entered the Jesuits at the age of nineteen. He was ordained at twenty-seven and then served the Order as a scholar, professor, and college administrator. Delicate in body, he had a strong desire to convert the Huron tribes. Thus after spending two years in Canada, he left for Huronia and quickly learned to speak the natives' tongue. He assisted jean de Brebeuf for only one month before sharing with him the palm of martyrdom on 1 7 March 1649.
Charles Garnier joined the Jesuit Mission in Huronia at the age of thirty-one. For thirteen years he served as pastor and missionary to the Hurons and Petuns. Gentle, innocent, and fearless, his great faith in God's goodness drew many to the baptismal font. Even when his settlement was attacked and he was himself wounded, he continued baptizing neophytes and caring for an injured Huron. He soon died from his wounds, about thirty miles from Ste. Marie.
The Distance from St. Ignace II to the Martrys’ Shrine is 18 km along a gravel road and paved trails
A rented bus will depart from the Church of the Transfiguration in Toronto promptly at 7:45am, and will return approximately at 10:00pm.
The bus fee should be $20.00 per person, depending on the number of pilgrims who travel by bus. There is room for 48 passengers.
Those who provide their own means of transportation may meet, as in past years, at St. Ignace II at 10:00am.
Pilgrims will walk in different, smaller chapters to facilitate prayer and meditation. Priests will be available for confessions throughout the pilgrimage.
A van will be available to pick up tired pilgrims along the way.
Pilgrims should bring a picnic lunch. Water, however, will be provided. A barbecue dinner held at the North Simcoe Recreation Centre, will follow the closing Mass. Burgers and sausages will be sold, while complimentary salads and desserts will be prepared by the parishioners of our chapels in advance.
Pilgrims driving their own cars should drop all passengers off at St. Ignace II and then drive their cars to the Shrine, parking nearing the East Gate. A shuttle bus will leave the Shrine at 10:15 am to bring the drivers back to the starting point of the pilgrimage.
7:45am – Departure of bus from Toronto, Church of Transfiguration.
10:00 am - Low Mass at St. Ignace II
10:15am – Pick-up of drivers from the large parking lot just inside the East Gate of the Shrine.
10:30am – Sermon and start of the pilgrimage at St. Ignace II, the location where St. Jean de Brébeuf and St. Gabriel Lalemant suffered martyrdom.
12:50pm – Picnic lunch at MacKenzie Park, Bergie Crescent, Victoria Harbor. Please bring your own lunch.
1:50pm – Continuation of the pilgrimage.
Holy Mass following after 2nd walk
3:45pm – Concluding Mass, followed by procession to the Shrine and veneration of the Canadian Martyrs’ relics.
5:00pm – Barbecue at North Simcoe Recreation Centre.
6:00pm – Bus returns to Toronto, Church of the Transfiguration
A group of strong men and boys will be walking from Church in Orillia to Midland. This group will walk a total of 50km. beginning on Friday September 29th camping overnight, and meet the main pilgrimage on Saturday.
**There will be a carpool to the Church in Orilia leaving from the Church of Transfiguration early on the morning of Friday, September 29th. Many graces can be gained on this extra day of prayer and penance.
Those who are interested should contact Dave Simpson by email ([email protected])
The Martyrs' Shrine is located of Highway 12 two miles East of Midland, Ontario. It consists of a Basilica, Outdoor Stations of the Cross, and many other outdoor shrines. In the Church are the relics of St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Gabriel Lalemant, and St. Rene Goupil.
St. Ignace II (as it is called) is the exact location where Sts. Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant suffered their martyrdom. It is at located off Rosemount Road, South of Highway 12. It is at this location where The Mass is offered in the morning.
Directions to St. Ignace II (Pilgrimage will start at St. Ignace walking to the Shrine)
From Toronto: Take 400 North past Barrie and Coldwater. Exit Highway 12 West, which is the exit for Waubashene and Victoria Harbour. The Exit Number is 147. (Note: you will see other signs to the Martyrs Shrine and to Highway 12. Do not exit at any of these, but wait until the Waubashene Victoria Harbour Exit.)
***Continue on Highway 12 West for about 3 Kilometres. There will be a Shell gas station on your right. Turn Left onto Rosemount road. Continue on Rosemount Road for about 3 kilometers, and right after going over a small bridge you will see sign: Camp Manitomno and St. Ignace. Turn left here to arrive at St. Ignace.
From the North: Take 69 South/400 South, and exit Highway 12 West, Exit Number 147. Then follow above***
Note: Outdoor Mass will be celebrated at the grounds of the Shrine after the Second Walk.
Directions to the Martyrs Shrine from St. Ignace II:
Return to Highway 12, and at the Shell station turn Left. Continue on Highway 12 West for about 10 Km and the Martyrs Shrine will be on your right (on the north side of Highway 12; do not confuse with St. Marie among the Hurons historical site).
Box 515, 945 King Street,
Midland, Ont. L4R 4L3
Tel: (705) 526-9307
980 King Street,
Midland, Ont. L4R 4K5
Tel: (705) 526-2090
Toll Free: 1 (800) 228-5150