Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 40 > Page 33 - At St. Ann's Day Mission, 1923

Page 33 - At St. Ann's Day Mission, 1923

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/8/1 (482 reads)

would have a meeting and prayers would be held every evening until Christmas. Priests didn't come as often to say mass in those times. So Indians kept their re? ligion going. They would hold prayer meetings at the school house. They also held prayers every Sunday and it was first like you were at mass'. And when the priest couldn't come for Christmas Eve, midnight prayers would also be said and people would have a meal together at the school house. And the fol? lowing day--Christmas Day--they would also have a prayer meeting called Mid-Day Prayers and a meal would be served. Same with Easter. The Grand Chief would send a letter to my father to explain to the peo? ple the feast day that was coming and how holy and important and sacred the coming days were until Easter. "If at Easter you don't have a.priest, you hold your prayer meetings and have a community meal your? selves." This is how the Grand Chiefs taught the people. The Captain had to do the duty of the Grand Chief on his reserve. At an assembly on his reserve he had to read the Grand Chief's letter to the peo? ple, "This is what these coming feast days mean and this is what the Grand Chief wants us to do--hold our own prayers meet? ing and have a meal together." This did not continue. Grand Chief Noel Marshall dancing, 1967. Man on right is keeping the rhythm. Noel Marshall died in 1984. At St. Ann's Day Mission, 1923 By Elsie Clews Parsons As Stephen Morris and his young son rowed me on Saturday, July 28, from the town of St. Peter's to the Island, eight miles, I learned that most of the people had ar? rived the preceding Thursday, which was St. Ann's day, but that the mission was consid? ered not to begin until Sunday. A boat load of 70 came from Whycocomagh; there were others from Sydney, from Eskasoni, from Middle River, from Pomquet and Truro; the most conspicuous pilgrims of all were from Prince Edward Island, the Chief of Rocky Point and his wife. From the dozen or more permanent frame houses at Bot- lodek', opposite the Island, there were, of course, visitors, among them a man who peddled fresh milk every evening. There were on the Island from 120 to 150 persons, in 41 wigwams or tents, a smaller number than usual. 117 wigwams had been counted one summer about 20 years ago. As we approached the Island, Morris told me was "holy land," here"the first French priest lived. The rise of land at the northwest end was called Sarusalem. On the summit stood a large cross; the ten stations to it on the "road-up" (elmedek') were marked by smaller crosses. It was on this cleared trail, I learned later, that the girls and boys, sometimes sex by sex, sometimes together, went on walking par? ties. I saw but one separate couple on the j' I
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