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Father Petit – Ordination and the “Trail of Death”

I’ve posted many times about the story of Father Benjamin Marie Petit, the young Frenchman who followed Servant of God, Simon Brute to America in order to serve among the missions and, in particular, to serve among the Native Americans in the northern part of the State of Indiana, particularly the Potawatomi Indians. There is no doubt that Fr. Petit is a Saint. Perhaps not a canonized saint, but a person, nonetheless, who should be emulated and looked to as an example.

Today marks the anniversary, in 1836, of Fr. Petit’s ordination as a Sub-Deacon (an order no longer conferred). He is remembered and honored on this day.

Of course, he is known to us for his work, as I mentioned above, among the Potawatomi people. Fr. Petit accompanied them on their “Trail of Death” from Indiana to Kansas, when they were forced off their Indiana lands to reservations in Kansas. It was on his return that Fr. Petit died in St. Louis.

Since the “sub title” of this web site is “Keeping the memory alive of those who have gone before us…”, it is also appropriate for us to remember the brave men and women of the Potawatomi nation who suffered as well. There is a group of dedicated people who remember them and every five years they re-create the “Trail of Death”. They did it again this year, and you can read about it by going to their web site and reading about the 2008 Caravan.

The photo above, is taken from their website.
[“Trail of Death caravan members examine the wooden crosses at the Sugar Creek Mission where the Potawatomi lived 1838 – 1838. Nearly 600 died there during that decade. Metal plaques list the names of the deceased Potawatomi. The Father Petit memorial has boulders from each of the four states and one from St. Louis where he died surround a wooden stand with plaque showing the map from Indiana to Kansas and the story of Petit’s life. (Photo by Ola May Earnest, Linn County Historical Society, Pleasanton, KS.)”


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