Martyrs, Miracles and Midland: A Look at the Martyrs’ Shrine (5 photos)

“Started in 1926, the land around what was to become the sanctuary was acquired by the Jesuit fathers”, notes the writer

One morning a colleague mentioned that I had failed in my duty to write about Martyrs’ Shrine.

Luckily a line from a movie surfaced “If you build it, they will come.”

Kevin Costner was right about that baseball diamond, as were the missionaries who built the sanctuary in Huronia.

I can’t think of any culture that hasn’t built something to reflect and express its belief in the earth and the sky above it.

They measured the trajectories of stars, determined where the center was, the sphere, and a few other useful bits of math and geometry. This allowed them to measure the phases of the moon, planets as well as distant stars in relation to the sun, which was the center of their worship.

As a child, I marveled at the pyramids and other great shrines of faith and divine proportions around the world.

Today, I consider the architecture of the church as the delimitation of a sacred space. The marking, the formation of a ground plan, and the incarnation of the Sacred Word in stone, have been carried out for centuries.

Some scholars refer to the style as Gothic art, not Gothic art, but something akin to “slang”. Same root as Argot.

That we have the great fortune, as pilgrims, to live in this sacred enclosure is a cause for wonder. With wonder comes understanding.

Started in 1926, the land around what was to become the sanctuary, was acquired by the Jesuit Fathers. It had already been considered sacred since the early 17th century…a place of suffering, death and eventual bliss for those who sacrificed their lives for their faith in something entirely invisible.

They call it Spirit, but it has many names.

The enduring mystery, which sustains us, despite nation states, despite political creeds and despite extreme partisanship, lies at the very center of this sanctuary.

How could the outward expression of this faith not have as its perfect and bodily expression an edifice of such perfect proportions?

I put down my file. Location is everything. Now can I make this deal?

At the top of the hill, already a sacred mound built by those who were there before the Amerindians, identical in many respects to the cathedrals of Notre-Dame, Lourdes, Amiens.

All were sacred spaces and springs of water where worship had previously been practiced. God has a covenant with all his people, not just one faith.

The claim to possess Jerusalem, symbolically or not, is a myth.

We all have this city in our hearts, and guess what? This particular sacred architecture that I’m referring to has all kinds of expressions, the Parliament of Ottawa is one of those sacred spaces. I enclose a photo of the Parliamentary Library for the edification of our readers.

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