Join us on a Virtual Pilgrimage

Join Us on a Virtual Pilgrimage

School Retreat Programmes 2018-19

Religious Education Through the Story of the Canadian Martyrs



A Journey Towards Christ with Jean de Brébeuf and His Companions

Available: May through October
Group Size: Up to 100 students
Programme Fee: $ 6.00 (Martyrs’ Shrine) + $ 6.00 (Sainte-Marie among the Hurons)
Programme Duration: 5 to 6 hours

Walk-Where-They-Walked is a full-day pilgrimage experience developed for both grade school and high school students in the Roman Catholic separate school boards of Ontario.  An interdisciplinary experience, and developed following basic principles of education outlined in the internationally recognised Jesuit programme of education (Ignatian-Pedagogical- Paradigm), pilgrims are invited to prayerfully enter into the lives St. Jean de Brébeuf and his companions so as to: (1) enrich their understanding of the Roman Catholic tradition; (2) reflect upon their personal relationship with Jesus Christ; (3) inform them on various aspects of the early modern history of Canada; and (4) provide the opportunity for ongoing physical education.

Sample Programme Schedule

10:00 AM        Arrival at Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons
10:15 AM A specialised tour of the historic site where the Jesuit missionaries lived and worked among the Wendat people that highlights important historical elements related to: (1) the life of St. Jean de Brébeuf; (2) the story of ‘First Contact’ between the missionaries and their Wendat Companions; and (3) the daily life at Sainte-Marie.
12:00 PM Lunch Break
12:45 PM A prayer service at the graves of St. Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lallemant (led by a Jesuit Priest), followed by a procession up to the the Martyrs’ Shrine.
1:05 PM Film Presentation – Martyrs’ Shrine: A Home of Peace
1:30 PM Pastoral Integration – A presentation given by a Jesuit Priest integrating aspects of the lives of the Canadian Martyrs into the pastoral reality of the Christian life today.
1:45 PM Break-Out Discussion –  Pilgrims are led, by a Spiritual Animator, in a practical activity that invites them to reflect upon what they have seen and heard during their day of pilgrimage, and to consider how the story of Jean de Brébeuf and his companions might effect their own relationships with God.
2:10 PM Mass and Blessing with the Relics – Pilgrims have the opportunity to have a personalised Mass in the Shrine Church, and to be blessed with the relics of Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lallemant.
2:40 PM Optional Tour of the Grounds or physical education activities led by the teaching staff in attendance.


All educational groups participating in our Walk Where They Walked programme will receive an interactive compact disc containing a curriculum based lesson plan upon booking. These lessons have been developed in consultation with the five separate school boards of the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.

This CD contains:

  • A lesson plan covering the history of Jesuits in Canada – the Huronia Missions.
  • Questions to which the answers can be discovered by students by visiting the Martyrs’ Shrine church, museum and, within the video viewed by programme participants.
  • Images of the Martyrs’ Shrine church and grounds.
  • 17th Century Maps
  • Songs written by Father Brébeuf and Jogues.

This CD is intended to be an introduction to the Martyrs’ Shrine as well as an educational classroom resource for teaching staff integrating the theme of Huronia history with Social Studies and the Fine Arts curriculum.

If you would like to expand Walk-Where-They-Walked into an overnight directed retreat  programme, please inquire about our 32-bed on-site dormitory facility.





September to October, and May to June

Group Size:

Maximum of 50 students

Programme Fee:

$ 12.00

Programme Duration:

3 hours

God has blessed each one of us with the gifts of sharing in relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ, a unique vocation, and the opportunity to walk with Him, in the diversity of our world, on a mission of love, self-offering, and generous service. Recognizing, as did the Canadian Martyrs, that the more deeply one embraces Jesus Christ, the more she/he can discover their own vocations, A Journey of Discovery with Christ is a day-long retreat programme, developed for grade 9 and grade 12 students, which invites them and their teachers to set out on a journey of self-discovery alongside St. Jean de Brébeuf and his companions towards a deeper union with Jesus Christ.

This programme is exclusively offered to high schools within the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. It reflects a collaborative process, and includes the execution of in-class lessons plans, by both chaplains and teachers, prior to their group's arrival. If your school board is interested in developing a similar experience, please have your school board make contact with the Director of Martyrs’ Shrine.

Grade 9 Retreat Programme


Vocation and Discipleship

Curriculum Tags:

Discipleship and Culture (PF2, PF3, CM3)

Strike Points:

Disposition; openness to the call of the Holy Spirit; listeners;
virtue/emulation/Christian Identity.


1 Samuel 3: 1-10; Psaume 67; John 12: 24-26                             

Walking with the martyrs, and their teachers, each student is invited to: (i) grow in her/his comfortability with personal prayer; (ii) begin to reflect upon her/his personal vocation; (iii) and ask themselves: ‘how I might respond to the loving call of God into Christian discipleship?’

Grade 12 Retreat Programme


The Call to Build a Civilisation of Love in Diverse Cultures

Curriculum Tags:

Church and Culture (SC3, PF2, PF3, PS1, FL1)

Strike Points:

Disposition; rooted in our Faith; walking through life with Jesus Christ; serving all (diverse) peoples with love.            


Romans 12: 1-2; Psaume 1; Luc 9 : 23-25


Walking with the martyrs, and their teachers, each student is invited to: (i) reflect upon his/her efforts to live out their Roman Catholic/Christian faith; (ii) how she/he is called to lovingly serve others as did Jesus Christ; (iii) and living out that calling in a Christian civilisation of diverse cultures and traditions.



The Journey of Encounter with Christ is a three-hour programme structured according to the scheduled arrival and departure time of a participating school. 

The curriculum timeline is as follows:

Proposed Time (minutes)




Arrival/Comfort Break

Main Washrooms



Walking up to the Shrine/Introduction

Church steps to Reliquary


Holy Mass/Integrated Homily

Shrine Church



St. Ignatius Chapel/Picnic Pavilion


Treasure Hunt/Scripture Mediation, and letter writing

Grounds of Martyrs’ Shrine/St. Ignatius Chapel


Closing Liturgy/Blessings with Relics

Shrine Church

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About the Martyrs

Jesuit missionaries worked among the Huron (Wendat), who occupied territory in the Georgian Bay area called Huronia. They established and laboured at the Sainte-Marie Mission.


In 1642, the Mohawk captured St. René Goupil, and St. Isaac Jogues, bringing them back to their village of Ossernenon south of the Mohawk River. They ritually tortured both men, and killed Goupil. After several months of captivity, Jogues was ransomed by Dutch traders and the minister Johannes Megapolensisfrom New Netherland (later Albany). He returned for a time to France, but then sailed back to Quebec. In 1646 he and Jean de Lalande were killed during a visit to Ossernenon intended to achieve peace between the French and the Mohawk.

The other Jesuit missionaries were killed by the Mohawk and martyred in the following years: Antoine Daniel (1648), Jean de Brébeuf (1649), Noël Chabanel(1649), Charles Garnier (1649), and Gabriel Lalemant (1649). All were canonized in 1930 as the Canadian Martyrs, also known as the North American Martyrs.

20150727_131338Gift Shop

This unique Gift Shop at Martyrs’ Shrine is open from May to October and offers pilgrims an extensive selection of religious articles, souvenirs, and gift ideas. It features art, jewellery, postcards, books, prayer cards, crosses, rosaries, and much more.

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Ontario’s first European Community, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron Wendat people. In 1639, the Jesuits, along with French lay workers, began construction of a fenced community that included barracks, a church, workshops, residences, and a sheltered area for Native visitors. By 1648, Sainte-Marie was a wilderness home to 66 French men, representing one-fifth of the entire population of New France. Sainte-Marie's brief history ended in 1649, when members of the mission community were forced to abandon and burn their home of nearly ten years.


After extensive archaeological and historical research initiated by the Society of Jesus, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is now recreated on its original site, where the mission’s compelling story is brought to life.


Connected to Martyrs' Shrine by trail, this world-renowned reconstruction illustrates the interaction of the Canadian Martyrs and Wendat nations. Visitors get a unique opportunity to see the earliest Canadian pioneer life, through guided or self-guided visits, school group tours, interactive education programs, special events, and corporate functions.

Driving Directions

Option A:

  • Follow Hwy. 400 North.
  • Take exit 121 to merge onto Hwy. 93.
  • North on Hwy. 93 for 24 km.
  • Turn right onto Hwy. 12 to Midland.
  • East on Hwy. 12 for 5 km.

Option B:

  • Follow Hwy. 400 North.
  • Take exit 147 to merge onto Hwy. 12 West.
  • West on Hwy. 12 for 13 km.

  • Follow Hwy. 26 to Hwy. 92/Mosley St.
  • East on Hwy. 92 through Elmvale.
  • Continue straight onto Hwy. 19 East.
  • Turn left onto Hwy. 93.
  • North on Hwy. 93 for 16 km.
  • Turn right onto Hwy. 12.
  • East on Hwy. 12 for 5 km.

  • Follow Hwy. 11 South to Orillia.
  • Take exit 133 to merge onto Hwy. 12.
  • West on Hwy. 12 for 40 km.

  • Follow Hwy. 69 South/Hwy. 400 South.
  • Take exit 147 to merge onto Hwy. 12.
  • West on Hwy. 12 for 13 km.


GPS Coordinates & Tips

  • For those requiring our GPS coordinates for navigation, please use the following coordinates for our location:
    • Latitude 44.73681
    • Longitude -79.84169
  • Experiencing difficulties finding the Martyrs’ Shrine with your GPS? Please try any of the following alternatives:
    • Ontario 12 or ONT 12, in place of the street name
    • Tay Township, in place of the city/town
    • locate a nearby intersection: Ontario 12 & William St.