St. Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in New York
AURIESVILLE, NEW YORK —In honor of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, the Knights of Columbus is making a $600,000 donation to help save a historic shrine that honors North American Jesuit martyrs and the country’s first Catholic American Indian saint, St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson will visit Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, New York, on Saturday, June 13, to present the shrine with a check. The visit will include a Mass, at 2 p.m. which is open to the public.
The total donation of $600,000 is comprised of $500,000 from the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council and $100,000 from its New York State Council. Knights units in the Albany, New York, area have also raised funds toward the state council’s pledge.
Located in the Mohawk Valley of central New York State, the 400-acre shrine was the birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha and the site of the martyrdom of three Jesuit missionaries, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Rene Goupil and St. John LaLande.
“The Knights of Columbus donation is made in recognition of the importance of the shrine and its place in the spiritual heritage of North America, and to honor Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope” said Mr. Anderson. “The example of the great missionaries — who Christianized this continent and often gave their lives in the process, as they did in Auriesville — should inspire Catholics today to continue the work of evangelization.”
The shrine, a site of missionary activity by 17th-century French Jesuits, was founded in 1885. Its current sanctuary was built in 1930 in the form of a circular coliseum that can hold 10,000 worshippers, making it one the largest structures of its type in the United States. An urgent need for extensive repair and renovation has threatened the shrine’s future and prompted a 2014 appeal for support by shrine administrators.
The Knights of Columbus was founded by the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael McGivney, a New Haven parish priest, in 1882. The organization was formed to provide charitable outreach and care for the financial well-being of Catholic families, and to strengthen the faith of its members. It has grown to include 1.8 million members. Last year, the Knights of Columbus set a new all-time record last year for charitable donations and service hours with $173.6 million in donations and more than 71.5 million hours of charitable service.