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Auriesville - Land of Crosses

LC - 21

Fr. Hugh P. Donlon - Paperback, 150 pages

Auriesville - The Martyr’s Shrine

    The breathtaking view of the Mohawk river valley from the front of the Shrine of the North American Martyrs at Auriesville New York gives the visitor cause to stop and remember that one day, long ago, our martyrs “ran the gauntlet” up that hill from the riverfront to the hilltop on which he now stands. Modern day Pilgrims who have for almost 20 years now made the yearly Pilgrimage for Restoration on foot, either from the Shrine of Kateri Tekawitha at Fonda New York only seven miles away, or the three-day Pilgrimage from the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament (Lake George) 72 miles away, can attest to the energy it takes to climb that hill after their long hike—and that is without running any gauntlet of blood-thirsty Mohawks!

    This shrine is one of the glories of the Catholic church in North America and all who can visit it are encouraged to do so, at least once in their lives. The editor can attest to the deep spiritual peace that is present on that hallowed ground. The famous Ravine where St. René Goupil’s relics were lost (and presumably are still part of the landscape there) is hauntingly beautiful and a place where many graces have been bestowed and received.

This is the story of that Shrine and of the heroes who made it a place of heavenly peace and grace—The Land of Crosses!


    The story of Auriesville is known to every historian familiar with the beginnings of faith and civilization in the section of North America now designated as New York State. It is generally accepted that the seventeenth century happenings in the little palisaded Indian village of Ossernenon and especially the missionaries who figured in them had a direct bearing on the birth of the nation. The characters of those heroic and historic personages have been immortalized by reason of the powerful influence that was exerted through them upon the generations that followed.

    Whether measured by the exacting standards of spiritual perfection that merit canonization, or by that valor and sublime devotion to humanity that distinguishes the heroes of the world, Isaac Jogues, René Goupil and John de Lalande, together with the five missioners who suffered martyrdom in Canada, stand out among the great men of all time.
The account of their lives forms a narrative that recommends itself to readers of every class. The historian finds in it epoch-making action, with profound cause and remarkable effect; the theologian views the sufferings and death of the missioners from a supernatural angle—a glorious triumph of faith over the powers of darkness. The story-teller, too, may find here adventure far more thrilling in its realism than in any plot of fiction.

    With the thought in mind of presenting a brief view down these three possible perspectives, this book has been prepared. The scenes and characters of old Ossernenon have been presented in simple fashion with the object of inducing the readers to consult the writings of far more learned authorities. Their hours of research have resulted in the complete unfolding of this remarkable account. To them one must go for a full understanding and appreciation of it.

    Every effort has been made to give an authentic version of the events that have led to the building of the great National Shrine. At the same time, it has been sought to avoid a mass of details that would obviously detract from a book of this style. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the Jesuit Fathers in charge of the Shrine, particularly to the Shrine Director, the Reverend Peter F. Cusick, S.J. Their kind assistance has made this work possible.

Hugh P. Donlon.
Amsterdam, N. Y. September 26, 1931 Feast of the Martyrs.


Click here to read more about the shrine and the North American martyrs! 



Part One
I     Valley of the Mohawks
II     Ossernenon; Now Auriesville
III     A Great Federation
IV     The Black Robes
V     War Paint
VI     Fate of a Convoy
VII     Savage Fury

Part Two
I     Reception at the Village
II     The Council Decides
III     Slavery
IV     Laborers in the Vineyard
V     Sign of the Cross
VI     Solitude
VII     Hunting Season
VIII     Spring Comes
IX     At the Trading Post
X     Ondessonk Escapes

Part Three
I     Another Victim
II     The Pipe of Peace
III     Ondessonk Returns
IV     Martyrdom
V     An Enemy Exterminated
VI     Falling Castles
VII     Mission of the Martyrs
VIII     Praying Indians
IX     Lily of the Mohawks
X     White Man’s Valley

I     The Jesuits Return
II     Canonization
III     Our National Shrine


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