Self-guided tour brochures are included with admission (Available in the Visitor Centre or Giftshop). Discover the rich history of the Martyrs' Shrine at your own pace, from the origins of European contact with Indigenous people in Canada, to the establishment of Catholic missions in the Wendat (Huron) Nation and Ontario's oldest European community, to the heroic deaths of the Jesuit saints which made this holy site one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Canada.
Step beneath the impressive vaulted ceiling of the Shrine Church and discover its wonders on a self-guided tour. During this approximately one-hour long sightseeing visit, you will be invited to explore various points of interest both outside and inside the unique Indigenous-European construction of the Shrine Church, highlighting various devotional monuments, works of art, other piece of history, as well points of interest on the Shrine grounds, including the Shrine Shoppes.
Retreats at Martyrs' Shrine
The history of spiritual retreats is as old as Christianity itself and is defined as taking time away from one's normal life for the purpose of reconnecting with one's self and God, usually in prayer. In the sense of the Jesuit faith, the notion of spiritual retreat has its origin in a small town called Manresa - a community near Barcelona, Spain where St. Ignatius of Loyola infamously stopped to meditate and pray in 1522. He had already laid aside his sword and his worldly ways but his path to conversion was still incomplete. He spent several months retreated, in a small cave, doing battle with his fiercest opponent: himself. He struggled with feelings of worthlessness and despair as well as scrupulosity. In his autobiography he made it clear that he was near collapse. But he weathered the storm and having achieved a breakthrough he set off on the rest of his spiritual journey. The rest of his life would be marked by this experience, later described in his Spiritual Exercises. It was characterized by a sense of balance and the avoidance of extremes as well as the ability to see God in all things. Today one can visit the small cave where he passed those difficult months, or journey through their own spiritual journey by way of a retreat, offered here at the Martyrs' Shrine.
Throughout the year, we offer programming for multi-day retreats (either guided by a Spiritual Director or silently self-directed) and single day retreats called quiet days covering a variety of themes. These spiritual renewal programs are designed to cultivate and develop your spiritual selves while encouraging growth, healing, and wholeness under the model of the Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises.
Martyrs' Shrine is offering a silent weekend-long retreat entitled, Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ. Although The Magis guesthouse is generally unavailable to the public, it is available during this program.
Martyrs' Shrine is offering customized retreats for the Archdioceses of Toronto, Hamilton and Peterborough as a part of our Lenten Missions leading up to Holy Week 2023. Members of these parish congregations can request their parish leadership to contact us for details.
When the coronavirus pandemic sent much of the world into lockdown, suspending in-person mass and other religious engagements, many of us had to adopt a more monastic lifestyle—and seek online spiritual resources. Whether you’re not quite ready to return to in-person retreats, looking for a reflective space amid a busy schedule or just trying this form of prayer for the first time, online retreats offer an accessible way to step back and reflect for a few hours, a day, or even weeks. These virtual opportunities are designed to help you pray no matter where you find yourself this summer. See our Upcoming Virtual Retreats.
And although not a retreat per say, we invite you to join us on this 1-hour long video special of prayer and reflection for our Indigenous sisters and brothers: Way of the Cross - Praying for Canadian Indian Residential Schools.
All school retreats are single day retreats at Martyrs' Shrine and take place on the holy grounds and in company with our Jesuit Community.
These retreats have been developed in consultation with five separate school boards of the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board and are designed to compliment the curriculum.
All educational groups participating in this program will have access to a digital package containing a curriculum-based lesson plan upon booking. Contact us to book your retreat today.
Walk Where They Walked
Available: May through October
Group Size: Up to 100 students
Fee: $6.00 (Martyrs’ Shrine) + $6.00 (Sainte-Marie among the Hurons)
Duration: 5 to 6 hours
This is a full-day program developed for both grade school and high school students enrolled in the Roman Catholic school system. This is an interdisciplinary experience, and developed following basic principles of Ignatian education. Students 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 God; (3) inform them on various aspects of the early modern history of Canada; and (4) provide the opportunity for ongoing physical education.
A Journey of Discovery With Christ
Available: September to October and May to June
Group Size: Up to 50 students
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, This day-long retreat program developed for grade 9 and grade 12 students, 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.
Martyrs' Shrine offers day-long customized retreats to various Clergy, Religious (those who have taken vows of consecrated life), Lay Associations, and Parish groups. Amidst our beautiful grounds, and alongside St. Jean de Brébeuf and his companions, join us for a customized retreat experience according to the needs of your group. Please contact our Programmes Leader for details.
Silent Self-Guided Retreats
Clergy and Religious (those who have taken vows of consecrated life) are invited to stay with us in the Magis Guesthouse as they pray their annual self-guided retreat. Enjoy prepared meals, join the Jesuit Community for daily Eucharist, walk the grounds, and commune with the Lord. Please contact our Guestmaster for details.
Guided Weekend Retreats
All weekend retreats at Martyrs' Shrine take place on our sacred grounds and are led by a member of the Jesuit community. Participants can unplug from the frenetic and noisy environment of their everyday lives and enter a period of guided prayer. All guests on retreat will be offered a series of themed talks, and daily Eucharist, with accommodations in the Magis Guesthouse for Rest and Renewal. Please contact our Guestmaster for details.
Stay With Us
We understand that your experience may not transform you in a single day, and we encourage you to take the time that you need. Stay with us or stay with our community accommodators.
It pays to book ahead with our special group rates offered to tour operators, parishes and schools. Contact our team today to see how we can best accommodate you.
About the Martyrs
Learn about the origins of these early Jesuit missionaries, the factors that led them to this site centuries ago, and why we honour them today at Martyrs' Shrine.
“It is dangerous to make everybody go forward by the same road: and worse to measure others by oneself.” -