Martyrs’ Shrine had evolved throughout the years and had created various branches in which to serve the community. It remains a priority commitment of the Canadian Jesuit ministry. It has formed itself into something modelling that of the original Jesuit-led Sainte-Marie mission which served as a centre of retreat, spiritual formation, education and discovery, and cultural integration – honouring both the lives of the North American Martyrs and the First Nations communities whom they served.
In 1984, Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine, announcing to the world that “this Martyrs’ Shrine is a place of pilgrimage and prayer, a monument to God’s blessings in the past, an inspiration as we look to the future.” The Pope re-consecrated the recreated Church of St. Joseph located at Sainte-Marie which holds the flesh remains of Brebeuf and Lalemant, along with an indulgence, that, for any Roman Catholic who came on to the Shrine on pilgrimage were to receive blessing, equal to that of pilgrimaging to Jerusalem.
In 1992, to mark the 150th anniversary of the return of the Jesuits to Canada, the Jesuits of Quebec offered the precious relic of the skull of St. Jean de Brébeuf to the Martyrs’ Shrine. In the presence of Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto Fr. Rene Latourelle of Quebec told the assembly at the papal altar, “Here Brébeuf was and still is fully at home.” Now housed in a Reliquary inside the Shrine Church, it rests along side the leg bones of St. Gabriel Lalemant and St. Rene Goupil which together serve as vestibules of hope and prayer. Many pilgrims have visited the Shrine seeking mental and physical healing and intercession through the relics of these saints. Many prayers have been answered and their own relics left behind at the Shrine, along side of the relics of the martyrs. The Shrine keeps the remains of physical aids (e.g., canes, crutches, hearing aids, etc.) from these pilgrims who have been blessed by healing powers and miracles.
Today some 100,000 pilgrims and visitors continue to visit this national shrine annually each year.