Martyrs’ Shrine is dedicated to the memory of six Jesuits and two lay martyrs from the nearby mission of Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons. Martyrs’ Shrine is considered to be one of the most important Catholic shrines in Canada. The history of the Shrine began in 1907, when Dennis O’Connor, the Archbishop of Toronto consecrated a small chapel near the site where St. Jean de Brebeuf and St. Gabriel Lalemant were martyred. In 1925 Fr. John Fillion, the Jesuit Provincial Superior for Canada decided to pursue the construction of a larger church closer to the site of the mission. To that end, Fr. Fillion purchased farmland across the road from Sainte-Marie.
Construction began that year using material from the original chapel, as well as other materials donated by northern Ontario lumber companies. Pews, stained glass windows, Stations of the Cross and an altar were donated by churches in London and Toronto. Construction was completed that winter, and the Shrine was consecrated on June 25, 1926.
The Canadian Martyrs were raised to sainthood by Pope Pius XI in 1930. The Shrine also received a Papal visit from Pope John Paul II in 1984, where he prayed over the skull of St. Jean de Brebeuf
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- August 30, 2009 / 5:15 pm
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