Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Interpretive Center (S.K.T.I.C)

Inaugurated on: April 30th, 2017

The various bilingual panels (PDF)

Video

Eastern Door article (May 2017)

Upcoming photos of the inauguration

The interior of the Center (coming soon)


2015 - Planning

Since last winter (2015), we began implementing the strategic plan to establish the ‘center’
in a space of about 2200 square feet next door to the Mission’s church,
within the existing Kateri Hall.

This area, the whole building actually, had been used by a local theatre company which closed after some 12 or 13 years,
but still housed great amounts of their equipment, props, costumes, stages and rooms designed for their purposes.
So, lots of moving and disposing and restorations first had to be done.
The Kateri Interpretive Center space was repurposed by the spring of 2015,
and the much larger area of the Kateri Hall just, just finished this March 2016.
All in all, quite an effort by everyone concerned.

The strategic plan itself gave us the general direction to focus on the short earthly,
and the still ongoing spiritual life of Kateri Tekakwitha, so we had to develop plans accordingly.
But how? What would we actually prepare and show?
And where would we get the material?
Our inexperience and other developmental short-comings quickly materialized.

However, we were able to gather the help of several people from the community with some relative skills and experience;
from the Cultural Center and the Kateri Center, developers, tourism, and others.
They really help us to outline the desired content and in many ways, the sources of the interpretive materials.
Our plan got better!

Last summer, we were assisted by CESO, (an agency that enlists the volunteer participation of retired professionals in many fields);
we were guided by a retired museologist with many years of experience
with the University of Toronto’s various museums.
She helped to organize our plan further, and as well suggest the design,
flow and layout of the space to best display what we want to show to our pilgrims and visitors.

We’ve contacted various trades-people to do the bits of construction and site finishing, artisans for some of the displays,
artists, display production firms, graphic designers for the displays,
and researchers for the actual ‘pictures and words’ to fill the display content – so many of these are ready to go.
We’ve been able to put a budget together (order of magnitude, really), so we have the cost expectations,
a sort of a ‘shoestring’ as it relates to available finances.

So far, we’ve been able to do what we’ve done on a shoestring budget.
Volunteers, congregation members, tradesmen and women giving us a real break on labour costs,
recycling materials, donations, shared resources of community organizations, and the kindness of others have all helped us to this point.

Now, we’re kind of stuck! Now, that we actually have to hire some help and buy stuff.
I figure about $40 to $43 thousand dollars could do it, if we can get rolling quickly.
We really wanted to have it ready for our several thousands of pilgrims and visitors and,
of course, for the community-at-large for this summer season.

It’s a big year for our community and our Mission.
St. Francis Xavier Mission, the longest continually operating Mission in Canada or anywhere else we know,
will celebrate its 350th anniversary this year.
The Kahnawake community (and our church too) will as well be celebrating its 300th anniversary in this location.
And, we have the good fortune to have one of the designated Doors of Mercy for this entire Jubilee year!

This project will be realized, God willing, as it’s something that we and so many others feel has to happen;
it will add to our Shrine’s development in such a big way. I guess the ‘when’ is currently up in the air!

We keep telling ourselves that the amount needed is not really so much, approximately $40,000.
Sure, we make some money, but this Mission, even with only 1 employee and lots of volunteers,
is generally such a ‘big barn of a place’ to operate each year that we don’t have that kind of extra funds to spare.
$40,000—that’s really just the price of a moderately nice car isn’t it? Surely, with Saint Kateri’s intervention and assistance, it’s doable.

We have lots of hope, and some ‘irons in the fire’. I hope that we don’t just end up with some warm irons.
But, if you feel the urge to assist, we’d be pretty happy!

Donations of any kind can be made payable to:
Saint Francis Xavier Mission
P.O. Box 70, Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada - J0L 1B0.

Tax receipts are issued for donations exceeding 10$.

-Mike Diabo is a member of the Saint Francis Xavier’s Mission’s Administrative committee closely associated with the Saint Kateri Interpretive Center project.

Visit the Mission's website: www.kateritekakwitha.net

2017-06-14