Spearheaded by Fr. Lafitte in 1993, parishioners of nearby missions of the FSSPX have annually gathered at Our Lady of Martyr’s Shrine in Auriesville, New York, to pray and do penance in honor of Sts. Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil, and John Lalande. On September 25, 2021, in what turned out to be one of the largest gatherings of the faithful in recent memory, local faithful gathered once again to pay homage to these saints. The pilgrimage was defined by the fortitude and perseverance of those attending.
Over 800 faithful gathered from nearly half a dozen parishes, led by more than 250 parishioners from Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Warners, New York. Since pilgrims are transported to the initial starting point of the pilgrimage in busses, this surprise number of faithful led to transportation issues, as there were simply not enough vehicles to transport them in a timely manner. Also attending the pilgrimage were nine district priests, two seminary professors, thirteen seminarians, and fifteen Dominican Sisters.
While the pilgrimage consists of a ten-mile journey for the faithful, the high school students of Mater Dei Academy, accompanied by several faculty and clergy, went the extra mile.
Beginning two days before, these students started their pilgrimage from Lake George, walking an average of 22 miles each day, and camping at night to rest sore limbs. Already a challenge, the girls’ tent was flooded the first night by rain. While many of them had to return home the following day to retrieve dry clothes, missing the second day of the pilgrimage, they persevered and returned on the third day to finish what they had begun.
The pilgrimage concluded with a beautiful solemn high mass at the shrine. Fittingly, the choirs of both Nicholville and Warners parishes joined together to sing Victoria’s Ave Maria in thanksgiving for all of the graces earned that day and for the blood spilled in those very woods by the North American Martyrs.