By Julia Magsombol
Local Journalism Initiative
The first St. Laurent de Grandin Pilgrimage in Saskatchewan took place on August 15, 1905, and ever since then, this religious journey has been a part of the Métis people’s history.
St. Laurent de Grandin is a significant religious heritage site for French-speaking Métis in Saskatchewan. Some of them are devoted Catholics.
Each year, around the middle of July and August, Métis people make the pilgrimage back to St. Laurent de Grandin. On the western shore of the South Saskatchewan River, the former Métis mission receives many devotees every summer for the annual pilgrimage. The Parish of Duck Lake organizes the pilgrimage now.
The tiny shrine of St. Laurent de Grandin only drew the attention of Métis from the surrounding parishes. But soon, the First Nations people from the other reserves joined as well.
The mission of this pilgrimage has always attracted a large number of faithful Catholics. These gatherings draw between 2,000 and 6,000 people each year. Many young Indigenous people no longer participate, but their ancestors once did— their parents and grandparents. Yet hundreds of First Nations people still take part in the procession, starting at One-Arrow and Beardy reserves, then proceeding to the shrine of St. Laurent de Grandin.
For more information, visit http://www.ameriquefrancaise.org/en/article-396/Saint-Laurent_Pilgrimage_in_Saskatchewan.html.