The sky to the west of the small town of Peshtigo (PESH-ti-go [not pesh-TEE-go]), Wisconsin glowed red before the sunrise, on the morning of October 8th, 1871. It was Sunday, and when the local priest stepped out of his church to greet parishioners, the air was smoky and white ash fell like snow.
The priest, whose name was Peter Pernin, turned and went back into the church and ran to the front of the sanctuary. He grabbed the holy tabernacle, the small cabinet that holds the Catholic eucharist.
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