Auriesville, New York

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Auriesville, New York
hamlet
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. They named their northern settlement on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, opposite Lachine (later Montreal), as Caughnawaga. Also spelled 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. Initially most were Mohawk.

History[edit]

Auriesville, located in Montgomery County, New York, developed at the presumed site of the Mohawk village, Ossernenon.

The French Jesuit missionaries Saint René Goupil, Saint Isaac Jogues, and Saint Jean de Lalande, were martyred by the Mohawk in this village: Goupil in 1642 and the others in 1646. Taken captive in Canada by Mohawk warriors, Jogues and Goupil were brought as prisoners to Ossernenon on the Mohawk River in 1642. They were ritually tortured and then enslaved by the Mohawk. Goupil was killed later in 1642 but, after several months, Jogues was ransomed by Dutch traders from Fort Orange (Albany). He returned to France by way of New Amsterdam. [2]

In 1644 François-Joseph Bressani was ritually tortured by Mohawk at Ossernenon after being taken captive. Later on, Joseph Poncet also suffered that treatment.[2]

Jogues returned as a missionary to Quebec. In late September 1646, he set out for Ossernenon on a peace mission to the Mohawk with Lalande, a young Jesuit lay brother. Jogues was killed on October 18, 1646. Lalande was killed the next day while trying to recover his colleague's body from the village path.[2]

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

Kateri Tekakwitha (Mohawk) was born here and later 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 disease, which left her face scarred and her vision impaired. [3] Because of her devotion to the church and service, she was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 2014.

The exact location of Ossernenon, closely associated with the founding of Catholicism in present-day New York, was for a time a subject of considerable dispute by scholars. Historians such as John Gilmary Shea and Gen. J. S. Clarke of Auburn disagreed. They finally documented that the present Auriesville is the place where 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 documented as 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 rivers. 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 Mohawk villages of Andagaron and Tionontoguen, by which the historians figured the site.

Commemoration[edit]

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 on a pilgrimage from Albany and Troy to Auriesville on that day.

Other Catholic 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 fast for their journey, pray and receive Holy Communion there. The Catholic Church purchased more and consecrated more ground to keep the surroundings free from undesirable development. Following the canonization of St. Isaac Jogues in 1930, the church built the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs at this site. It built a large coliseum-sanctuary on the grounds, with seating for up to 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