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Bishop Baraga Shrine

Near this site, on May 15, 1832, the Rt. Rev. Frederic Baraga, then a young Catholic missionary to the Indians, established and blessed his first church. A small building of logs and bark. It was built with the willing help of the Indians, and dedicated “to the honor of God under the name and patronage of his Virginal Mother Mary.” Until his death in 1868 Father Baraga labored selflessly in an area from Minnesota to Sault Ste. Marie. from Grand Rapids to Eagle Harbor. World famous as a missionary, he became upper Michigan’s first Roman Catholic Bishop in 1853. Frederick Baraga was called “The Apostle of the Ottawas and Chippewas.” Baraga was born and trained in Europe. He arrived in New York City to begin his work here on December 31, 1830. During his lifetime, Baraga founded many missions in northern Michigan. The original Indian Lake mission, the third of Baraga’s faith, was built in anticipation of his first visit to the area in May of 1832. The chapel, built by local Chippewas, used traditional Indian construction methods and materials such as logs and bark. The Indians replaced the first chapel with a larger one in 1833. Records suggest that the chapel may have existed until 1873. Based on historical information, the Indian Lake mission was rebuilt in the early 1980′s on the original mission’s site.