St. René Goupil’s body was recovered in the Ravine by Father Jogues. Distraught and grief stricken, he placed it in a creek that runs through the Ravine and weighed it down with heavy rocks. He intended to give Goupil a Christian burial when he was again allowed out of the village. But heavy rains pounded Ossernenon. The creek in the ravine swelled to a torrent. When Father Jogues returned to the ravine, the body of Goupil had been washed away.
The following spring, Father Jogues found the skull and a few of the bones. He buried them in an unmarked grave. Because the exact location of the grave is not known, the entire Ravine is considered a reliquary of the saint’s remains. Goupil’s death and burial were well documented by Father Jogues. Excerpts of his writing are posted along the pathway into the Ravine. Our Lady of the WaysideJust off the pathway is a small shrine containing a mosaic of Our Lady of the Wayside where pilgrims can pray and read of her intercessions. Devotion to her was dear to the heart of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and to his spiritual sons as well.
Pilgrims evoke Maria SS. Della Strada not only for a safe journey along paved highways but also the highway of life.The pathway opens onto a peaceful clearing graced by pines, hemlock tress, and statues.Wayside CrucifixAt the end of the Way of Martyrdom in the Ravine is the majestic Wayside Crucifix. Here pilgrims kneel and bring their praise and petitions to the King of Martyrs.StreamIt was in this stream that St. Isaac Jogues interred the body of St. René Goupil beneath heavy rocks. Jogues planned to take the remains to Canada – a project cut short by his own martyrdom.
This rustic pergola stands in the Ravine and houses a statue of the Pieta, the oldest statue on the Shrine grounds, along with the Shrine’s original altar.Statue of St. Ignatius of LoyolaThe statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus that gave the martyred saints to America, stands in the ravine. St. Ignatius is also the patron saint of retreats, symbolized by the book of “Spiritual Exercises” he holds in his right hand. His spirit continues in the Jesuit priests and brothers who serve at the Shrine today.Statue of René GoupilThis statue represents René Goupil making the sign of the cross over a Mohawk child who kneels at his feet.
It was this act that St. René was martyred.Our Lady of LourdesThe state was designed by the Joseph Sibbel Studios in NY in 1929. It stands in on a path above the statue of St. Rene. For early pilgrimages, it formed a background for the Altar of Benedictions. Auriesville may be referred to as the Lourdes of America, sharing natural beauty as Lourdes, France.Christ in SepulcherIn the Ravine is a wooden foot bridge spanning the stream that leads to the dell where the touching figure of the dead Christ reposes in his Sepulcher. The memorial reminds pilgrims that the Ravine is the altar stone of America holding relics of the first canonized martyr of our country, René Goupil.