Thursday, October 19, 2006

The North American Martyrs

Today, the Church celebrates the memorial of the North American Martyrs. The following* are summaries of their beautiful and heroic witness to Christ, even unto death. BEWARE that some of the details of their brutal martyrdoms are quite graphic:

"Isaac Jogues (1607-1646) and his companions were the first martyrs of the North American continent officially recognized by the Church. As a young Jesuit, Isaac Jogues, a man of learning and culture, taught literature in France. He gave up that career to work among the Huron Indians in the New World, and in 1636 he and his companions, under the leadership of John de Brébeuf, arrived in Quebec. The Hurons were constantly warred upon by the Iroquois, and in a few years Father Jogues was captured by the Iroquois and imprisoned for 13 months.

His letters and journals tell how he and his companions were led from village to village, how they were beaten, tortured and forced to watch as their Huron converts were mangled and killed. An unexpected chance for escape came to Isaac Jogues through the Dutch, and he returned to France, bearing the marks of his sufferings. Several fingers had been cut, chewed or burnt off. Pope Urban VIII gave him permission to offer Mass with his mutilated hands: "It would be shameful that a martyr of Christ be not allowed to drink the Blood of Christ." Welcomed home as a hero, Father Jogues might have sat back, thanked God for his safe return and died peacefully in his homeland. But his zeal led him back once more to the fulfillment of his dreams. In a few months he sailed for his missions among the Hurons.

In 1646 he and Jean de Lalande, who had offered his services to the missioners, set out for Iroquois country in the belief that a recently signed peace treaty would be observed. They were captured by a Mohawk war party, and on October 18 Father Jogues was tomahawked and beheaded. Jean de Lalande was killed the next day at Ossernenon, a village near Albany, New York.

The first of the Jesuit missionaries to be martyred was René Goupil who, with Lalande, had offered his services as an oblate. He was tortured along with Isaac Jogues in 1642, and was tomahawked for having made the Sign of the Cross on the brow of some children.

Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649): Jean de Brébeuf was a French Jesuit who came to Canada at the age of 32 and labored there for 24 years...He composed catechisms and a dictionary in Huron, and saw 7,000 converted before his death. He was captured by the Iroquois and died after four hours of extreme torture at Sainte Marie, near Georgian Bay, Canada.

Father Anthony Daniel, working among Hurons who were gradually becoming Christian, was killed by Iroquois on July 4, 1648. His body was thrown into his chapel, which was set on fire.

Gabriel Lalemant had taken a fourth vow—to sacrifice his life to the Indians. He was horribly tortured to death along with Father Brébeuf.

Father Charles Garnier was shot to death as he baptized children and catechumens during an Iroquois attack.

Father Noel Chabanel was killed before he could answer his recall to France. He had found it exceedingly hard to adapt to mission life. He could not learn the language, the food and life of the Indians revolted him, plus he suffered spiritual dryness during his whole stay in Canada. Yet he made a vow to remain until death in his mission.

These eight Jesuit martyrs of North America were canonized in 1930.
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*It comes from an online article at:
http://www.americancatholic,org/features/saintofday/default.asp?id=1173

21 Comments:

At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Fr. Greg - Will there be adoration tomorrow night?

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

Yes, from 7-8 pm.

 
At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

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At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens at Adoration?

 
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous searching for holiness said...

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At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds scary to me.

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Searching for holiness said...

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At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jesuits sure do!!! We have a lot to thank them for!

 
At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jesuits can also be really strict as my husband found out spending so many years with them in school! LOL!!! But because of them he has achieved so much in life!

 
At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martyrdom isn't limited to historical events. The number of martyrs rises every year. They give of themselves to share the Good News and bring Christ to the poor, the meek, the hungry. Sometimes this gift is met with persecution and murder.

And to think, most of us only have to drive a few miles on Saturday or Sunday.

 
At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To add to what annon said. The poor priests are really becoming martyrs in China it is awful what is happening to them there!

We should pray for them. We should also pray for the people who are persecuting them so they have conversion of heart.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Tenderfoot said...

How do we show God we are very thankful to Him in a consistent way?

 
At 11:18 AM, Anonymous searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey SFH,

What is Corporal works of mercy?

 
At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SFH,

To your 11:18 am post. Don't bother I have seen it before. I am going to leave the blogsite. I don't need a rock to fall on my head to get the picture.

See you around.

 
At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry. Nothing YOU said upset me. Its a bit complicated. Something has happened and I don't know why or what caused it and unfortunately I can't fix it and it really bothers me. That is the most I can say but please be assured it is not you.

 
At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SFH,

I have very good friends that I can trust but this is a "Catholic" issue which they won't understand but I have decided to ignore it and let God handle it. I have enough on my plate.

Wasn't I supposed to leave..oops

 

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