Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pere Marquette, Was Reburied On June 8, 1677

Pere Marquette Memorial Shrine in Ludington, MI
Father Jacques Marquette, better known as Pere Marquette, was reburied on June 8, 1677, according to American-Indian funeral customs. The French-born Jesuit priest — who explored the Mississippi River and the shores of Lake Michigan, founded St. Ignace and ministered to Indians — died somewhere along the Lake Michigan coast at age 37 on May 18, 1675, and was buried there. However, two years later, Kiskakons and Iroquois disinterred him and put his cleaned bones in the sun to dry before putting them in a birch-bark box. They transported Marquette’s remains in a convoy of 30 canoes to St. Ignace, where two priests rowed out to meet them. The pair asked the Native Americans to confirm it was Marquette, and then they recited the “De Profundis” psalm, according to Reuben Gold Thwaites’ book, “Father Marquette.” After the funeral rites, Marquette was lowered into a small vault in the middle of the church, the book says, “where it rests as the guardian angel of our (Ottawas) mission, The savages often come to pray over his tomb.” The small church was destroyed in a fire in 1700 and nobody knew where the beloved priest was buried until 177 years later, when the then-parish priest happened upon bone fragments with pieces of a birch-bark box.

Link (here) to the Detroit Free Press

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