St. Ignace Mission

St. Ignace Mission The St. Ignace Mission is located in a municipal park known as Marquette Mission Park. It was the site of a mission established by Père Jacques Marquette, and the site of his grave in 1677.

A second mission was established at a different site in 1837, and the chapel was moved here in 1954. The second mission chapel is the oldest Catholic church in Michigan and Wisconsin. Ignace Mission was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1956, and was declared a U.S. National Historic Landmarks in 1960, one of the earliest sites recognized. The mission chapel serves as the Museum of Ojibwa Culture.HistoryPère MarquetteIn 1670, Claude Dablon established a Catholic mission on what became known as Mackinac Island. That mission was presumably destroyed, as Père Jacques Marquette established a French Jesuit mission at the same location in 1671.However, in the fall of the same year, Marquette moved the mission to a location on the north shore of the Straits of Mackinac at the site of the present mission chapel. Marquette built a small log cabin at this site to serve as a chapel, and ministered to the Native Americans in the area, in particular the Petun. This people had recently settled in the area after clashes with the Iroquois, as well as the French inhabitants of the Straits.In 1674, Marquette joined Louis Jolliet on an exploration journey to trace the route of the Mississippi River. The party overwintered on the shore of Lake Michigan in what is now Chicago; however, Marquette's health had suffered on the trip, and he died in 1675 while returning to his St. Ignace mission. Marquette had expressed a desire to be buried at the mission. In 1677, his followers exhumed his remains and carried them for reinterment at St. Ignace. There, they were placed in a birch box and buried beneath the chapel.

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500 N State St
Saint Ignace, MI


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