A Burning Mission
On this late December afternoon the old palisade walls of St. Ignace are a grove of living wood. No longer is the forest clearing guarded by a rampart of tall, skinned logs, huddled together like rows of bears teeth rising from a maw of earth.
Now these beech and birch trees again stretch their spirits, growing thick to the bends and twists of the Sturgeon River.
That river water weaves its own great and storied wampum. Chanted death songs in Wendat, and Iroquois, vespers in French and Latin.
Reflected on the rivers inkwell surface, visions of cross-shaped constellations sparkle on clear nights like dewdrops on a spiders web in moonlight.
The bodies of missioned-men floating prostrate, post-gauntlet, like split crows. Their cassocks make black wings that soar and dip in the broiling current, animated by the violence of cataracts. Men whose hearts-on-fire beat so wildly for Christ, they shot from their chests like flaming arrows, and set nations ablaze in His passion.
A haze of mist settled knee height as it descended over the snow covered clearing of St. Ignace; it encircled us as we prayed with decades of the rosary in hand at the cross between two weathered posts. A geography of tracks – squirrel, rabbit, and deer – at our feet. All of us players and pilgrims in creation, bearing witness to the warriors and martyrs made here.
taken from an 8 Day Vocation Discernment Retreat, Martyrs Shrine, 2018