St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park
8487 W 1525 Road
Centerville Kansas, 66014

Open 7AM - 9PM daily
free

St. Philippine Duchesne Park Map

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St. Philippine Duchesne Park - Potawatomi Trail of Death
St. Philippine Duchesne Park - Linn County
Entrance to St. Philippine Duchesne Park

St. Philippine Duchesne Historical and Memorial Park near Centerville, Kansas was the location of St. Mary's Mission, which was also known as Sugar Creek Mission. It was established in 1838 by the United States government as a destination for the forced moving of nearly 900 Potawatomi Indians from Michigan & northern Indiana on a march known as "The Trail of Death." The 660 mile walk took 2 months and more than 40 died, mostly children. The party joined other Potawatomi from the Great Lakes region. Over 600 died during the 10 years of Sugar Creek Mission's existence and they are buried at the mission. The survivors and the mission were moved to what is now St Marys, Kansas in 1848.

In 1841, Catholic sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart established a school for Potawatomi girls at the mission. They were led by Rose Philippine Duchesne (1769-1852), who brought the first members of that order to North America in 1818 and was instrumental in the founding of a number of schools. At the age of 72, she was frail and she only stayed at the frontier Mission for one year. 

Duchesne was beatified in 1940 and canonized in 1988. There is a monument devoted to her at St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park and shrines devoted to her in nearby Mound City, Kansas and in St. Charles, Missouri.

St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park is owned by the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas and maintained by the Knights of Columbus. There are nature trails and many memorials and signs telling the story of the Potawatomi, the Trail of Death and of St. Philippine. There is a picnic area and signs point out the foundations of several of the buildings which were part of the mission. There are 14 Stations of the Cross which were created by Lawrence Branstetter of Fort Scott which were made by sandblasting granite.

Trail of Death memorial
The plates on this memorial have entries from the journal of Jesse C. Douglas,
who was the Enrolling Agent of the forced removal.

Trail of Death map at St. Philippine Duchesne Park
Memorial stone with a map of the Trail of Death

Spring at St. Philippine Duchesne Park
Spring


One of the memorial signs at St. Philippine Duchesne Park

St. Philippine and two American Indians
Daily Offering by Lawrence Branstetter is a sand blasted granite depiction of St. Philippine and two Native Americans,
based on a 3" x 5" sketch which was done by an unknown nun in St. Charles, Missouri.

Potawatomi Indian memorial crosses
These crosses are in memory of the more than 600 Catholic Potawatomi Indians who are buried in this field and down by the river.
Their names and ages are inscribed on the plates on the crosses


This memorial is dedicated to "Quah-Kah-Ka-Num-Ad" ("Woman who prays always").

convent foundation in the picnic area
The site where a five room log convent was completed in March 1842

St. Philippine Duchesne Park Map - Potawatomi Trail of Death
St. Philippine Duchesne Park Map

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