By Joe Bollig
MOUND CITY — When the Potawatomi Indians were forced to go to Kansas in 1838, their journey became known as the Trail of Death.
Now, 180 years later, a caravan of Potawatomi and others made the 660-mile journey to Kansas in commemoration of that terrible event.
On Sept. 22, a group of some 35 people gathered at the St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park and Shrine, northwest of Mound City, for a Mass and dinner.
These marked the end of the pilgrimage, which began at the Chief Menominee Monument, south of Plymouth, Indiana, on Sept. 17.
The Mass was celebrated by Father Barry Clayton, pastor of St. Philip Neri Parish in Osawatomie, Sacred Heart Parish in Mound City, and Our Lady of Lourdes in LaCygne.
The pilgrims included Potawatomi, historians, women religious and others interested in the forced removal of the Potawatomi nation from its Great Lakes area homeland.
One of the six religious who took part was Sister Deanna Rose von Bargen, RSCJ, of Redwood City, California. She and five other Sisters who made the pilgrimage belong to the same order as St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, who ministered at the former Sugar Creek Mission to the Potawatomi.
Although they had a tight schedule, the pilgrims took time to stop at monuments and important sites along the way, said Sister Deanna. Interestingly, the weather they experienced mirrored that recorded in diary entries of the 1838 journey.