Rose Prince: remembering her legacy

Hundreds of pilgrims across Canada gathered together in remembrance for the annual Rose Prince pilgrimage in Lejac, British Columbia.

  • Wed Aug 10th, 2016 6:00am
  • News

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

Hundreds of pilgrims across Canada gathered together in remembrance for the annual Rose Prince pilgrimage in Lejac, British Columbia.

Prince, a young First Nations woman and devout Catholic who attended the Lejac Indian Residential School, died in 1949. The soil of her grave is believed by some to have healing powers.

Father Frank Salmon, Pastor at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Fort St. James attended the pilgrimage that took place from July 8 -10.

“People are aware of her locally. This event always brings people from near and far. Some even take earth from her grave home with them,” Salmon said.

“The pilgrimage always comes with a native speaker, mass, a healing prayer and a dinner including members from all different bands.”

Rose Prince was born in Fort St. James, British Columbia in 1915.

She was the third of nine children.  Her father, Jean-Marie was descended from the great Chief Kwah.

The Lejac Residential School, located just a few minutes from Fraser Lake, B.C., was built in 1922.

Rose was sent there along with the other children from her school as part of the Canadian Residential School System.

When Prince was just 16, her mother and two youngest sisters died from an influenza outbreak.

But Prince continued to attend school and after graduating she decided to stay and work there.

But by the age of 34, Prince contracted tuberculosis and passed away on August 19, 1949.

According to a nurse at her side, the body of Rose Prince did not cool for hours following her last breath.

Decades later after her body was found incorrupt in 1951, Father Jules Goulet, called for a pilgrimage to Lejac and through the years, the pilgrimage still continues to draw many from all over Canada and the world.

Incorruptibility of an unenbalmed dead body is not considered a miracle but it is considered an act of the supernatural. This is one of the fundamental conditions when someone is being considered for sainthood.

If Prince continues through the various steps of beatification, she will become the first incorruptible aboriginal saint in the world.

The road to canonization can be a long one but in the meantime, people continue to gather and be inspired in remembrance of a faithful young girl from Northern B.C.