Kateri Tekakwitha Prayer for the young and our families

~Prayer for the young and our families, with Kateri~

O most humble Kateri
I seek your love and prayers.
I turn to you for your inspiration.

May I know the power of humility;
the strength of seeking God’s will
in everything I do this day;
the compassion to care this way
for those who are weak and are in need of help;
and the faith to forgive
those who walk a hurtful and violent path.

Pray with me Kateri
that through us God our Creator
will comfort the orphan,
watch over the neglected child,
and wait with the youth who go astray.

You lost your parents
and found others along the way
to care for and guide you.
May all parents and grandparents stay healthy,
seek the selfless love of Jesus,
and give where giving is most needed.
May they make wise decisions
and heed daily to the Wisdom of the Great Spirit.

Your spirit was strong
and your love for Jesus is deep,
may I trust that Christ will turn my weakness
into His strength and meekness;
so that whatever comes to me this day,
I may choose to do God’s will.

~Fr. David Shulist, S.J.~
Copyright (C) Anishinabe Spiritual Centre

Kateri Tekakwitha Year at Anishinabe Spiritual Centre



Video 1 – Feast Day 2013    

Video 2 – Feast Day 2013


Broadcast from Rome during the canonization:

Before canonization:

Canonization day:

Thanks Giving Mass

Interviews after Canonization and Thanks Giving Mass

Papal Audience 

October 21st – 2012

    • Canonization (Rome, Italy)

December 12 – 2012

    • National day of prayer for aboriginal people (dedicated to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha)

April 17 – 2013

    • Kateri feast day

June 21 – 2013

    • Prayer days (dedicated to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha)



Articles and prayers:

Homily: Be Channels of God’s Forgiving, Healing and Just Love…

It was the spring of 1994.   I and three other companions travelled the Spanish River from Espanola.  Eventually, five days later, we made our way back to Whitefish Falls, over the waters of the North Channel.  The four of us landed here at this very site for a break, and then we paddled onward, to camp somewhere out on one of the islands in Georgian Bay, the great waters of Huron.   I wanted to camp at this site, but the others were afraid that the bears would attack us.   They figured that the islands out in the Northern Channel were our safest bet.  Little did I know that some eighteen years later, I would return to this place.(This time, I would have had to do some winter camping.)

I remember being struck by how the river made a channel through the land; how, when we got tired from paddling, its waters carried us effortlessly downstream.   Since then, I have grown up somewhat.  And since then, two things were told to me as an adult.  The first thing was this:  as we grow up to become adults, each of us has to make a choice along the way, asking ourselves, “Where do I find the grace of God?”

Another way of asking the question is, “Where am I to be and with whom am I to be, in order to be a God-loving person, a forgiving, encouraging, helpful, and honest person?” 

Now, none of our life situations are ideal.   The elders among us can attest to this:  and so we have to learn how to discover the presence of God, how to read the signs of the loving Creator’s presence.  Where do I go to find traces/signs of God’s grace?   …To find traces of the Creator’s love for me?

Any hunter knows that one doesn’t set a trap in an area where there are no tracks or traces of the animal which he is hoping to catch.   Otherwise, he is not a good and smart hunter, a wise hunter, not a responsible hunter if one’s family is dependent on that food.    Or a blueberry picker does not go walking over land that has no blueberry plants growing on it and expect to find blueberries.   Nor does an experienced berry-picker naively ignore the poison ivy.

Likewise, we do not situate our lives forever in a place where we are not going to be respected, cared for and loved, and then expect to live a long life.  Nor do we stay in that place if we are not becoming good, respectful, caring, and responsible people.  We do not stay in a relationship where we are abused, not able to become a good person, a forgiving and healthy person.  We will become poisoned. 

Where we are as 30 year-olds is not where we are as 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80 year-olds.  Along the way, each of us has made choices to move and/or change.  Some good and some not-so-good choices have been made.  The question is: “Did our move help us to see love; or did others channel more of God’s love to me, or not?”

For those who know me, they know I like to grow food.   I like to grow a garden.  I know that some plants do not grow in certain soil conditions.  Turnip grows better in cooler soil, while corn grows better in hotter soil.  An apple tree does not grow in a desert; a cactus does.  Likewise, if it is in the wrong place, we need the powers of the Creator to help in some measure.  If there is water channeled into the desert, then that apple tree can grow.   Likewise, we are not meant to live life without the loving water of the Creator, without the Healing power of Christ and the Sustaining power of the Spirit. 

This brings me to the second thing I was told as an adult: If we do not find the grace or the love of God, (or extending the metaphor–drink up this further measure of spiritual water), then the best bet is to find other places, friends, family, and community who are in the business of channeling the grace of God.  If we stay in that place where God’s grace is not present, nor is able to be channeled to us through others, then we will become very wounded persons, and, as adults, lack some of the essentials in keeping us spiritually healthy. We will pass on this same spiritual sickness to others.  And what is more, our legitimate acknowledgements of having been wounded become chronic and repetitive mantras.  These very mantras discredit our genuine cry for healing and help.  These mantras of being wounded and sick can turn us into hypochondriacs, more specifically spiritual hypochondriacs. Unfortunately, when we get to this state, we may never move on and be healed.

We are here this weekend because some wise adults among us have been blessed with that insight: as it was written in the opening letter by Pauline Toulouse and Roger Daybutch, “based on previous evaluations and comments from past events that were hosted, the direction we are going is geared towards the more memorable happy times we shared at these schools.”   In other words, this weekend had to be about the business of channeling the grace of God and of moving on.

So we are here this weekend, on this 3rd Sunday of Lent, to let the love of God be channeled in a different way when it comes to our collective history.   It is fitting to be here in Lent.  For Lent is the time we set aside to look carefully at how we can change—a time to change our ways of acting and thinking that will no longer perpetuate the sins of the past, but will promote the grace of hope for the future.

We can do this because we are Christians.  We might be seen as fools, coming back to a place that is known to have been a place of hurt, loneliness, confusion and wrong-doing. But as Christians, we are always grateful to God.  As Catholics, we are Eucharistic people, which means, people of gratitude, people who “remember with gratitude.”  We are not naïve and stupid, but rooted in the wisdom of the Creator, healed by the selfless love of Jesus and forever growing up (and for some of us, also growing out) with the Holy Spirit always as our guide. 

First, we thank God the Creator for our lives (as Margaret Toulouse led us to do in the opening morning prayer); second, for the gift of his Son Jesus, who is the channel of the Creator’s healing love for us; and third, for how we are shown daily, through the Spirit, to find the love of God in all things, if we choose to live in the wisdom of God. 

We believe that, like Jesus, the Creator can channel His love or grace through us to others. 

We believe that if we do not heal along the way, then we cannot channel this love to our families, friends and others.

And so we are here in this specific place where these two one-time residential schools, St Charles Garnier and St Joseph, existed, because you believe that this place can still channel God’s love to you as a community of alumni, and beyond.  And we, who are your family and friends and who are here, also believe this. 

You are saying by your presence here that this place will not be the property where evil has its last word. This place will not be where the good times never existed, where learning never happened, where friends were never found and where fun was never experienced.  This place will not be owned by wrong-doing, untruth and revenge, in the end, but it will be owned by right-doing, truth, forgiveness and gratitude within our hearts so that future gatherings of people can come to enjoy this land given to us by the Creator. (I hope it is not the place for future rivalry.) This place is the land of the commons, being reclaimed as a meeting place where the common good is to be upheld by all.

You will not let this place be forgotten, or desecrated.  The sacredness of the Creator is still here, despite what human beings tried to do here at one time, which, in part, reflects an unfortunate period of a history of injustice. 

In faith, you are the living example of the message of the Cross, which Saint Paul refers us to in the Scripture. Your faith allows you to see that this place can be transformed and restored in your memories as a location of life.

Those who do not have faith in Jesus Christ, his suffering, passion and death, will not be able to see the wisdom of the resurrection.   Nor will they see the wisdom of coming together and celebrating and“remembering the good times” as you have done this weekend.

By this faith, we are rising above that sinful history of the past and living out the resurrection.  We are not waiting for the next life.  We are living it now.  Jesus tells us many times, “the Kingdom of God is near at hand.” And this weekend is the proof of that exhortation.

As we heard in today’s Gospel, Jesus saw the temple being desecrated, brought to ruin by the money changers, and marketers.   He overturned their tables and chased them out.  The temple was no longer the place that channeled God’s grace, the sacredness of the Creator. This invasion had distracted people from God.  Less and less of the sacredness of life was remembered and encouraged by those who busied themselves with the vendors.  

Likewise with ourselves, each of us is that temple, where the Spirit dwells.   And we have to take care of that place within us to protect its sacredness.  From the past, we know how it can be desecrated by others.  And so we are all the more wise to care for it today and in the future.  The Jewish people had the Ten Commandments to remind them.  We, as Christians, have those same Commandments, along with the teachings of Jesus and the teachings from the ancestors to help us. 

Like you, as alumni, I, as a Jesuit priest, have to move forward from a time of history that has marked my generation of priests and brothers, and burdened us.  I, too, have to find traces of God’s grace in all of this and work to build a new kind of community that will not become part of an unjust system of education, creating tiers of privileges. 

We, together, need to channel our efforts to build new communities and institutions, where all people are respected.  We can do this because we profess that each of us is a child of God, a child of the Creator–the One who made us all equal. 

I, too, have to be a channel of God’s grace, to do what Christ calls us to do:  build up the Kingdom of God, the Kinship of God, where we are brothers and sisters, and not enemies. The Creator’s world has a diversity of creatures in it:  many, many varieties of plants and animals co-existing…we all have a place, here, too.

Again, I come back to the wisdom and spirit of this gathering: “Remembering the Good Times”.  To remember is to focus on the traces of memories, the good moments, and the fruit that has come from those past years of being at St Charles Garnier and St Joseph’s Schools (eg. the leaders, the great athletes, the faithful elders).  To want to move on and move forward is making a bold statement of faith: “we will not be held captive by the past, we will rise above it. We, like the wise hunter or trapper, will catch the Good Spirit and feed off of that Good Spirit to go on living.”

We will not let “victimhood”, that is, seeing ourselves as a victim all the time, desecrate our spirit, turn us into bitter, revengeful and unforgiving people, and become ugly temples of God.

This is so much like what Jesus did.  He was never a victim; he was a Saviour—our Saviour, channeling the merciful love of the Creator.

We want to follow Jesus, who was thought to be a victim, but in the end was totally free because he loved, and, therefore, became transformed into a new person and transformed others. We want to be a people who will be transformed daily by the healing love of God.   And we want to witness to others that the love of the Creator is the only way that generations after us–if wrong has been done to them–will be healthy people, Anishinabe and non-Anishinabe.   Let us thank our elders who throughout all these years have not chosen a godless way, but have chosen the way of Christ: “You keep inspiring us!”

Yes, we might be fools in the eyes of the faithless ones as we move forward, but as St Paul reminds us, 

“God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” 

Let us always choose God’s foolishness and God’s weakness, no matter the cost. 

As this Spanish River channels its waters through the land and out into the great waters of the Huron for thousands of years, let us take courage and do the same: be channels of God’s forgiving, healing and just love to each other; forgive, heal, and love each other.  All of this is our shared legacy for the future.

Let us develop into wise hunters or berry pickers, so as to identify the real traces and signs of the Creator’s presence among us, working on our behalf through Christ Jesus to bring forth new life.

Ch’Miigwech, Ch’Miigwech, Ch’Miigwech, Ch’Miigwech.


Homily given by Fr. David Shulist, S.J.,

Director of the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre,

11 March 2012, the day  Daylight Saving Time began.


Jesuits participate in residential school gathering


                This past March 9th to 11th, 2012, Spanish, Ontario was host to the St. Charles Garnier & St. Joseph’s Residential School Gathering. St. Charles Garnier was the boys’ school in Spanish, which was owned and operated by the Jesuits between 1913 and 1958. One of the organizers of the reunion was Pauline Toulouse, a member of the Diocesan Order of Service (DOS) and participant in the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre’s Ministries Programme. Fr. David Shulist SJ and Paul Robson SJ attended and participated in the event, as did Justin Dittrick, a Jesuit Volunteer. Fr. David celebrated the Mass on Sunday, and Paul helped design the program for the event.

The theme for the weekend was “Remembering the Good Times”, and there was a spirit of positivity and moving forward about the reunion. There was also a spirit of humour, with a performance and workshop by comedian Leonard Dick (“Moccasin Joe”). Speeches by honourary guests mentioned both the bad but also the many good experiences that alumni had had at the schools. Chief Isadore Day of Serpent River First Nation spoke about the necessity of not remaining stuck in the past.

Many expressed their appreciation that Jesuits were present, and their gratitude for Fr. David’s homily. An excerpt from the homily: “We are here in this specific place where these two one-time residential schools, St Charles Garnier and St Joseph, existed, because you believe that this place can still channel God’s love to you as a community of alumni and beyond. And we, who are your family and friends and who are here, also believe this . . . In faith, you are the living example of the message of the Cross, which Saint Paul refers to us in the Scripture. Your faith allows you to see that this place can be transformed and restored in your memories as a location of life.” 

Fr. David, Pauline Toulouse (to Fr. David’s right) and others prepare for Mass

Message from the Director

Happy Birthday! Fr. David Shulist

It is the season of Lent and supposedly still winter. Lent may be 40 days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, but this winter has hardly been 40 days, let alone the usual 4 months. I don’t know if the bears and other mammals are going to want to climb out so quickly from their hibernation. Who among us wants our rest disturbed? This winter scarcely had that feel of dormancy to it. Here at the Centre we were active, if not on the outside, then on the inside. 

Recent events and historical events mark our time. We welcomed Fr. Shaun Carls, S.J. from South Africa. Justin Dittrick has joined us from Regina as a Jesuit Volunteer, with the hope that more will follow his footsteps, as Jesuits and lay colleagues try to reinstitute the programme. Arturo Garcia has begun to help us update our internet and telecommunications. Leonard Cywink is clearing some land to extend our garden. Paul Robson, S.J. and Gabriel Bennett devotedly work to launch a youth ministries programme. Paul and Justin started our Lenten Film Series. Gerry Forest, S.J. works to keep things balanced monthly, while Mike Stogre, S.J. has successfully completed a chapter on the Jesuit contact with the Native people in Canada, as part of the 400th anniversary of Jesuit presence in Canada. Mike uncovers, there and in this newsletter, some rather notable history, marking the 150th anniversary of  the Treaty of 1862. As well, every effort to build a skating rink this winter was a feat. We also rejoice in the news that Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha will become a saint in October; and the ministries in the Native communities never go into hibernation. We have much to be grateful for from this “short” winter.

Blessings in the remainder of these 40 days, and may our hearts ponder ever more deeply the gift of Christ’s death and resurrection, and the early Spring that is surely on its way.

Fr. David Shulist SJ

Happy Birthday!  Fr. David Shulist


Jesuit Fr. Shaun Carls SJ

Fr. Shaun Carls

Fr. Shaun Carls

Jesuit Fr. Shaun Carls SJ, from South Africa, recently spent  close  to    three    months    in    Canada.   He   was   here   for   an “experiment”, part of his tertianship program. (Tertianship is a one year period of Jesuit formation, which comes several years after ordination.) Most of his time was spent on the reserve of Sagamok. He is pictured here along with Joyce and Jadyn Toulouse, at St. Raphael’s Church in Sagamok. He is wearing  a new deer hide stole, which he received as a parting gift from the community. The stole was made by Margaret Toulouse and Wanda Ozawanamiki, and the leather donated by Donna Fox. 

Important and Dubious 19th Century Treaties

Sir William McDougall, one of the architects of the Treaty of 1862

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the McDougall Treaty of 1862

       “Vanishing like snow before the April sun,” was Sir Francis Bondhead’s dismal prognosis for the aboriginal peoples of Ontario. His hope of keeping the native peoples isolated from white encroachment, until that “vanishing” occurred, set the stage for the Treaty of 1836. According to this Treaty of 1836, basically, the crown would make no claim on Manitoulin Island and the surrounding “fishing islands;” and the Ojibway/ Odawa owners of these lands would agree that the remaining native population of Ontario could relocate to the Island. (It was estimated that there were about 9,000 native persons in Ontario at the time.) In fact, Sir Francis had no crown authorization to make this treaty.

     The native people of Ontario did not die out, nor did many move to Manitoulin Island.  Using this failure to relocate as a pretext to nullify the 1836 Bondhead Treaty, the McDougall Treaty of 1862 opened the Island to non-native settlement.

    Actually, the Treaty of 1836 contained no clause about the requisite number of native people that would have to settle on the Island   to   make  it  valid.

The new Treaty of 1862 was also in violation of the “fiduciary responsibility” of the crown, and later of the Canadian government, who were expected to protect native rights and interests. These dubious actions have come back to haunt the federal government, in the form of numerous specific land and rights claims.

    Wikwemikong, supported by their clergy (the Jesuits, who have been present there from 1844 until the present day), refused to sign the Treaty of 1862 and so retained 20% of the Manitoulin Island land mass (and presumably the “fishing islands” which are still under contention). It is said that many of the signatories of the Treaty of 1862 signed under duress and the influence of alcohol. In fact, many of them were not from the Island, and had already signed the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850. Not being from the Island, they were not the legitimate representatives of the communities which were under consideration in 1862.

    Thus there are grounds for declaring the Treaty of 1862 fraudulent, along with the Treaty of 1836.

Fr. Michael Stogre S.J.

Sir William McDougall, one of the architects of the Treaty of 1862


Youth Day on Anderson Lake

Youth Day at Anderson Lake

On February 9th, youth from Birch Island (Whitefish River First Nation) arrived at Anderson Lake and spent their afternoon at Anishinabe Spiritual Centre. They took advantage of the skating rink, curling with home-made curling stones. Other activities included snowshoeing and storytelling. For a snack, hot dogs were toasted over a roaring fire, and hot chocolate was served, steaming, sweet, and delicious.

 Youth Day at Anderson Lake

Fishing derby at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre

Fishing Derby at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre

On the 19th of February, the ASC hosted the 5th Annual Espanola Children’s Winter Fishing Derby. The event was sponsored by the Espanola Game and Fish Protective Association. About 130 people were out on Anderson Lake over the course of a beautiful, sunny winter day. A total of 9 fish were caught (and released). This total of 9 is a record for this event.

 Fishing Derby at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre

A Pin Hole Message from the Director of Anishinabe Spiritual Centre

Snow is here. The season is just around the corner. Changes careen across the landscape. Here at Anishinabe Spiritual Centre we are attentive to all of this & more. Thanks to many who come to this Centre and to the staff who hospitably receive them. From university groups, school awareness trips, the Native ministries community, support and healing groups, to retreatants, the ASC has welcomed them.  Our  meetings with Native community leaders are  invaluable learnings.  We keep listening to what the spiritual, communal and personal needs are.  We know that these are not easy times. For the youth, the elderly, the wounded, even the leaders, challenges are numerous.  Constant vigilance and progress is needed to be present to all of this. It is a blessing to have this season of Advent upon us, which teaches us vigilance, how to become more alert to what is happening and what is yet to come.  I hope this finds you all in that spirit, in anticipation of letting Christ enter  more deeply into our lives and our shared world. Thank you for all your support.  

Fr. David Shulist SJ