Pilgrimage Part Two
A few days ago I mentioned that I will be traveling to Matanzas Inlet near St. Augustine, Florida to make a “pilgrimage” of sorts to the place where nearly 250 French Protestants were martyred for their faith and for upholding the French flag. Yet there is a part two to my pilgrimage. I will also be visiting Fort Caroline, the ill-fated Huguenot haven and French base where many more men lost their lives during the Spanish raid of September 20, 1565.
My goal is this: I want to see, to feel, to experience. I want to close my eyes and imagine the scene so I might memorialize the innocents who met their deaths with a fortitude and steadfastness in faith that I can barely begin to imagine. I want to walk slowly and smell the same air and feel the same warmth and see the same scenery of palm and forest and river that the French saw and revered during their scant days of freedom. Though the current Fort Caroline is a reconstruction (unfortunately, it does not stand at the site of the original fort, as that location has been lost) it still stands as a symbol.
Fort Caroline is indeed a symbol of the first Protestant stronghold in the New World. Despite its gut-wrenching fate, it remains as the oldest Protestant “pilgrimage” site in America, and that is exactly why I am visiting. Maybe I will say a prayer. Or I might just take a few moments to remember and honor those who barely had time to register their plight before their souls were cleaved from their bodies. I have always been the sort who wishes I could know the name of every man who died, but I do know that, just as in the horrendous Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre and every other persecution, God knows their names. And that is a comfort that can never be described.
(c) 2012 Joyously Saved