St. Regis Church

About St. Regis

St. Regis Catholic Mission

The St. Regis Catholic Mission was established by French Jesuit Catholic priests as a mission to the Mohawks in the 18th century. Its congregation remains vibrant today, occasionally still celebrating masses, wakes, and funerals in the Mohawk language. The Mohawk-language choir continues to sing both modern hymns and the Gregorian chants originally translated into Mohawk by French priests more than 200 years ago. The large stone building itself, completed in 1795 with the help of Mohawk men, women, and children, is one of the oldest in the North Country.  

Father Jerome Anniversary

Father Jerome Pastores Returns to St. Regis Church

September 1, 2015

Father Jerome Pastores

Father Anthony Osuji

Father Anthony Osuji

December 1, 2013 - September 1, 2015

St. John Francis Regis

On June 16 the Catholic Church celebrates the memory of Saint John Francis Regis, a 17th-century French Jesuit known for his zealous missionary efforts and his care for the poor and marginalized.

In a 1997 letter to the Bishop of Viviers, Blessed John Paul II commemorated the fourth centenary of St. John Francis Regis' birth, honoring him as a “lofty figure of holiness” and an example for the Church in the modern world.

“In less than 10 years of ministry, this saintly Frenchman succeeded, with God’s help, in leading back to Christ an immense crowd of men, women and children of all ages and walks of life,” the Pope recalled. He urged the faithful to imitate the saint and “put themselves in God’s hands with total trust.”

Born in 1597, John Francis Regis was the son of a wealthy merchant father and a mother descended from nobility. As a boy he was sensitive, devout, and eager to please his parents and teachers. Educated by Jesuits from the age of 14, he entered the Society of Jesus in December of 1616.

As he followed the traditional Jesuit path of teaching and extensive studies, John also became known as a skilled catechist. He was eager to enter the priesthood, and offered his first Mass in 1631. John spent much of the rest of that year caring for victims of a plague outbreak in the city of Toulouse.

In 1632, John received his assignment as a missionary to the French Protestants – known as Huguenots – as well as the country's lapsed Catholics and others in need of evangelization. The rest of his life would be devoted to this mission, with remarkable success.

John's missionary work spanned both a large geographical distance and a broad social spectrum. In over 50 districts of France, he preached the Gospel to children, the poor, prisoners, and others forgotten or neglected by society. His best-known work involved helping women escape prostitution.

John's labors reaped a harvest of conversions. However, his boldness – perceived as arrogance in some cases – led to a conflict with certain other priests, a period of tension with the local bishop, and even threats of violence from those whose vices he condemned.

Against these obstacles, the priest persevered, sustained by fervent prayer and severe asceticism. His missionary work involved difficult winter journeys, and a witness at his beatification testified to John’s habit of preaching outdoors all day, then hearing confessions throughout the night.

St. John Francis Regis died at age 43, in late December of 1640. Though suffering from a lung ailment, he insisted on preaching a parish mission and hearing confessions. A penitent found him unconscious in the confessional, though he revived long enough to receive the last rites before dying.

Hailed as a confessor of the faith and a model for Jesuit missionaries, St. John Francis Regis was beatified in 1716 and canonized in 1737.

Old St. Regis Church Photo

Old St. Regis Church

Photo courtesy of Joseph Cook

Account of Darren Bonaparte

St. Regis Church

St. Regis Church

The Church of Stone

 Elders say that Mohawk men, women, and children were part of the effort to construct the massive stone edifice on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Tons of limestone were quarried and shipped in, and massive logs were procured in the Thousand Islands area near the community of Sawekatsi. The church was completed in 1795. The rectory was constructed in 1800. According to tradition, Father McDonnell, who oversaw this massive effort, as well as the construction of a sister church in St. Andrew’s West, was interred, pharoah-like, beneath the church at St. Regis when he passed away in 1806. READ MORE >>


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