Auriesville, New York

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Auriesville, New York
Auriesville, New York is located in New York
Auriesville, New York
Auriesville, New York
Location within the state of New York
Coordinates: 42°55′46″N 74°18′59″W / 42.92944°N 74.31639°W / 42.92944; -74.31639
Country United States
State New York
County Montgomery
Town Glen
Elevation 312 ft (95 m)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 12016
Area code(s) 518
GNIS feature ID 942705[1]
The National Shrine of the North American Martyrs at Auriesville, New York; the Mohawk River is in the foreground.

Auriesville is a hamlet in the northeastern part of the town of Glen in Montgomery County, New York, United States, along the south bank of the Mohawk River. It lies about forty miles west of Albany, the state capital. A Jesuit cemetery is located there.

Auries was the name of the last Mohawk known to have lived there. Settlers named the village after him. The Mohawk called the place Ossernenon, also Gandawaga and Caughnawaga. The latter name was also given to a northern settlement on the St. Lawrence River opposite Lachine (later Montreal). Also known as Kahnawake, the Canadian settlement was founded by 1718 as a Jesuit mission for the Iroquois converts to Christianity who wanted to withdraw from "moral corruption" by their pagan kinsmen.


Auriesville located in Montgomery County, New York, is the presumed site of the Mohawk village, Ossernenon, in which Saint René Goupil, Saint Isaac Jogues, and Saint Jean de Lalande, were martyred by the Mohawk. Jogues and Goupil were brought from present-day Canada to the village on the Mohawk River in 1642 as prisoners. They were tortured and then enslaved by the Mohawk. Goupil was killed in 1642, but after several months Jogues was ransomed by Dutch traders from Fort Orange and returned to France by way of New Amsterdam. [2]

In 1644 François-Joseph Bressani was tortured there, and later on, Joseph Poncet.[2]

In late September Jogues sent out for the village from Quebec, on a peace mission with Lalande, a young lay brother. Jogues was killed on October 18, 1646. Lalande was killed the next day while trying to recover his body from the village path.[2]

From 1655 to 1658 Father Simon Le Moyne travelled a number of times to Ossernenon as an ambassador to negotiate peace. In 1666 the Marquis de Tracy conducted a punitive expedition against Ossernenon and other Mohawk villages. The next year in 1667, a permanent Jesuit mission was established. There Father Boniface, James de Lamberville, Jacques Frémin, Bruyas, Jean Pierron and others laboured until 1684, when the mission was destroyed.

Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk Indian woman who has been canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, was born there and baptized in nearby Fonda, New York. In 1660, when Tekakwitha was four years old, a smallpox epidemic decimated the community, and both her parents as well as her brother died. She survived the outbreak, though it left her face scarred and her vision impaired. [3]

The exact location of this village, closely associated with the founding of Catholicism in New York, was for a time a subject of considerable dispute. Historians such as John Gilmary Shea and Gen. J. S. Clarke of Auburn had disagreed. They finally were able to show that the present Auriesville is the place in which Father Jogues and his companions suffered death. The basic evidence is the fact that, up to the time that the villages were destroyed by de Tracy, they were on the south side of the Mohawk and west of the Schoharie River. This was clear from contemporary maps, and from the letters of Jogues, Bressani, and Poncet.

Joliet, known to be an accurate cartographer, put the village of Ossernenon at the confluence of the Schoharie and Mohawk. Jogues had written that the village was on the top of a hill, a quarter of a league from the river. Jogues described the ravine in which Goupil's body was found, with features that were extant in the 19th century. Lastly, Jogues gave the distances from the villages of Andagaron and Tionontoguen, which fixed the locality.


In 1884, the Rev. Joseph Loyzance, S.J., then parish priest of St. Joseph's, Troy, New York, purchased 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land on the hill. A student of the lives of the early missionaries, Father Loyzance erected a small shrine under the title of Our Lady of Martyrs. He was the first to lead a number of pilgrims to the place, on 15 August of that year. It was the Feast of the Assumption, as well as the anniversary of the first arrival of Father Isaac Jogues as an Iroquois captive. Four thousand people went from Albany and Troy on that day.

Other parishes subsequently adopted the practice of visiting Auriesville during the summer. Frequently there were as many as 4,000 to 5,000 people present. Many of the pilgrims would come fasting, would pray and receive Holy Communion there. More ground was purchased and consecrated to keep the surroundings free from undesirable development. Following the canonization of St. Isaac Jogues in 1930, the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs was built there. A large coliseum-sanctuary was built on the grounds, capable of seating 6000 worshipers. The property now includes more than 400 acres (1.6 km2).

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Coordinates: 42°55′46″N 74°18′59″W / 42.92944°N 74.31639°W / 42.92944; -74.31639