October 19 – Founding Fathers

October 15, 2015

St. Isaac Jogues

St. Isaac JoguesFrench missionary, born at Orléans, France, 10 January, 1607; martyred at Ossernenon, in the present State of New York, 18 October, 1646. He was the first Catholic priest who ever came to Manhattan Island (New York). He entered the Society of Jesus in 1624 and, after having been professor of literature at Rouen, was sent as a missionary to Canada in 1636. He came out with Montmagny, the immediate successor of Champlain. From Quebec he went to the regions around the great lakes where the illustrious Father de Brébeuf and others were labouring. There he spent six years in constant danger. Though a daring missionary, his character was of the most practical nature, his purpose always being to fix his people in permanent habitations. He was with Garnier among the Petuns, and he and Raymbault penetrated as far as Sault Ste Marie, and “were the first missionaries”, says Bancroft (VII, 790, London, 1853), “to preach the gospel a thousand miles in the interior, five years before John Eliot addressed the Indians six miles from Boston Harbour”. There is little doubt that they were not only the first apostles but also the first white men to reach this outlet of Lake Superior. No documentary proof is adduced by the best-known historians that Nicholet, the discoverer of Lake Michigan, ever visited the Sault. Jogues proposed not only to convert the Indians of Lake Superior, but the Sioux who lived at the head waters of the Mississippi.

His plan was thwarted by his capture near Three Rivers returning from Quebec. He was taken prisoner on 3 August, 1642, and after being cruelly tortured was carried to the Indian village of Ossernenon, now Auriesville, on the Mohawk, about forty miles above the present city of Albany. There he remained for thirteen months in slavery, suffering apparently beyond the power of natural endurance. The Dutch Calvinists at Fort Orange (Albany) made constant efforts to free him, and at last, when he was about to be burnt to death, induced him to take refuge in a sailing vessel which carried him to New Amsterdam (New York). His description of the colony as it was at that time has since been incorporated in the Documentary History of the State. From New York he was sent; in mid-winter, across the ocean on a lugger of only fifty tons burden and after a voyage of two months, landed Christmas morning, 1643, on the coast of Brittany, in a state of absolute destitution. Thence he found his way to the nearest college of the Society. He was received with great honour at the court of the Queen Regent, the mother of Louis XIV, and was allowed by Pope Urban VII the very exceptional privilege of celebrating Mass, which the mutilated condition of his hands had made canonically impossible; several of his fingers having been eaten or burned off. He was called a martyr of Christ by the pontiff. No similar concession, up to that, is known to have been granted.

The Jesuits martyrs of Canada: Jean de la Lande, Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf, Charles Garnier, René Goupil, Gabriel Lalemant, Noël Chabanel, Antoine Daniel.

The Jesuits martyrs of Canada: St. Jean de la Lande, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Brébeuf, St. Charles Garnier, St. René Goupil, St. Gabriel Lalemant, St. Noël Chabanel, St. Antoine Daniel.

In early spring of 1644 he returned to Canada, and in 1646 was sent to negotiate peace with the Iroquois. He followed the same route over which he had been carried as a captive. It was on this occasion that he gave the name of Lake of the Blessed Sacrament to the body of water called by the Indians Horicon, now known as Lake George. He reached Ossernenon on 5 June, after a three weeks’ journey from the St. Lawrence. He was well received by his former captors and the treaty of peace was made. He started for Quebec on 16 June and arrived there 3 July. He immediately asked to be sent back to the Iroquois as a missionary, but only after much hessitation his superiors acceded to his request. On 27 September he began his third and last journey to the Mohawk. In the interim sickness had broken out in the tribe and a blight had fallen on the crops. This double calamity was ascribed to Jogues whom the Indians always regarded as a sorcerer. They were determined to wreak vengence on him for the spell he had cast on the place, and warriors were sent out to capture him. The news of this change of sentiment spread rapidly, and though fully aware of the danger Jogues continued on his way to Ossernenon, though all the Hurons and others who were with him fled except Lalande. The Iroquois met him near Lake George, stripped him naked, slashed him with their knives, beat him and then led him to the village. On 18 October, 1646, when entering a cabin he was struck with a tomahawk and afterwards decapitated. The head was fixed on the Palisades and the body thrown into the Mohawk.

In view of his possible canonization a preliminary court was established in Quebec by the ecclesiastical authorities to receive testimony as to his sanctity and the cause of his death.

Parkman, The Jesuits in North America (1867); Bancroft, History of the United States,III; J.G. Shea, Life of Father Jogues (New York, 1885); Jesuit Relations, 1640-1647; Abbe Forest, Life of Isaac Jogues, MSS. (St, Mary’s College, Montreal); Memorial of the death of Isaac Jogues and others, MSS. (University of Laval, Quebec); Dean Harris, History of the Early Missions in Western Canada (Toronto, 1893); Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York, I (published by the State, 1891); Charlevoix, History of New France, II; Richemonteix, The Jesuits and New France, I, II.

T.J. CAMPBELL (Catholic Encyclopedia)

[Note: He, as well as those below were canonized by Pope Pius XI on June 29, 1930]

René Goupil

René GoupilJesuit missionary; born 1607, in Anjou; martyred in New York State, 23 September, 1642. Health preventing him from joining the Society regularly, he volunteered to serve it gratis in Canada, as a donné. After working two years as a surgeon in the hospitals of Quebec, he started (1642) for the Huron mission with Father Jogues, whose constant companion and disciple he remained until death. Captured by the Iroquois near lake St. Peter, he resignedly accepted his fate. Like the other captives, he was beaten, his nails torn out, and his finger-joints cut off. On the thirteen days’ journey to the Iroquois country, he suffered from heat, hunger, and blows, his wounds festering and swarming with worms. Meeting half way a band of two hundred warriors, he was forced to march between their double ranks and almost beaten to death. Goupil might have escaped, but he stayed with Jogues. At Ossernenon, on the Mohawk, he was greeted with jeers, threats, and blows, and Goupil’s face was so scarred that Jogues applied to him the words of Isaias (liii, 2) prophesying the disfigurement of Christ. He survived the fresh tortures inflicted on him at Andagaron, a neighbouring village, and, unable to instruct his captors in the faith, he taught the children the sign of the cross. This was the cause of his death. returning one evening to the village with Jogues, he was felled to the ground by a hatchet-blow from an Indian, and he expired invoking the name of Jesus. He was the first of the order in the Canadian missions to suffer martyrdom. He had previously bound himself to the Society by the religious vows pronounced in the presence of Father Jogues, who calls him in his letters “an angel of innocence and a martyr of Jesus Christ.”

Bressani, Les Jésuites Martyrs du Canada (Montreal, 1877); Shea, The Catholic Church in Colonial Days (New York, 1886); Rochemontiex, Les Jésuites et la Nouvelle France (Paris, 1896); Martin, Le Pére Isaac Jogues (Paris, 1882).

LIONEL LINDSAY (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Jean de Brébeuf

St. Jean de Brébeuf

St. Jean de Brébeuf

Jesuit missionary, born at Condé-sur-Vire in Normandy, 25 March, 1593; died in Canada, near Georgian Bay, 16 March, 1649. His desire was to become a lay brother, but he finally entered the Society of Jesus as a scholastic, 8 November, 1617. According to Ragueneau it was 5 October. Though of unusual physical strength, his health gave way completely when he was twenty-eight, which interfered with his studies and permitted only what was strictly necessary, so that he never acquired any extensive theological knowledge. On 19 June, 1625, he arrived in Quebec, with the Recollect, Joseph de la Roche d’ Aillon, and in spite of the threat which the Calvinist captain of the ship made to carry him back to France, he remained in the colony. He overcame the dislike of the colonists for Jesuits and secured a site for a residence on the St. Charles, the exact location of a former landing of Jacques Cartier. He immediately took up his abode in the Indian wigwams, and has left us an account of his five months’ experience there in the dead of winter. In the spring he set out with the Indians on a journey to Lake Huron in a canoe, during the course of which his life was in constant danger. With him was Father de Noüe, and they established their first mission near Georgian Bay, at Ihonatiria, but after a short time his companion was recalled, and he was left alone.

Brébeuf met with no success. He was summoned to Quebec because of the danger of extinction to which the entire colony was then exposed, and arrived there after an absence of two years, 17 July, 1628. On 19 July, 1629, Champlain surrendered to the English, and the missionaries returned to France. Four years afterwards the colony was restored to France, and on 23 March, 1633, Brébeuf again set out for Canada. While in France he had pronounced his solemn vows as spiritual coadjutor. As soon as he arrived, viz., May, 1633, he attempted to return to Lake Huron. The Indians refused to take him, but during the following year he succeeded in reaching his old mission along with Father Daniel. It meant a journey of thirty days and constant danger of death. The next sixteen years of uninterrupted labours among these savages were a continual series of privations and sufferings which he used to say were only roses in comparison with what the end was to be. The details may be found in the “Jesuit Relations”.

In 1640 he set out with Father Chaumonot to evangelize the Neutres, a tribe that lived north of Lake Erie, but after a winter of incredible hardship the missionaries returned unsuccessful. In l642 he was sent down to Quebec, where he was given the care of the Indians in the Reservation at Sillery. About the time the war was at its height between the Hurons and the Iroquois, Jogues and Bressani had been captured in an effort to reach the Huron country, and Brébeuf was appointed to make a third attempt. He succeeded. With him on this journey were Chabanel and Garreau, both of whom were afterwards murdered. They reached St. Mary’s on the Wye, which was the central station of the Huron Mission. By 1647 the Iroquois had made peace with the French, but kept up their war with the Hurons, and in 1648 fresh disasters befell the work of the missionaries – their establishments were burned and the missionaries slaughtered. On 16 March, 1649, the enemy attacked St. Louis and seized Brébeuf and Lallemant, who could have escaped but rejected the offer made to them and remained with their flock. The two priests were dragged to St. Ignace, which the Iroquois had already captured.

The Martyrdom of Fathers Brébeuf and Lalemant, painted by Joseph Légaré.

The Martyrdom of Fathers Brébeuf and Lalemant, painted by Joseph Légaré.

On entering the village, they were met with a shower of stones, cruelly beaten with clubs, and then tied to posts to be burned to death. Brébeuf is said to have kissed the stake to which he was bound. The fire was lighted under them, and their bodies slashed with knives. Brébeuf had scalding water poured on his head in mockery of baptism, a collar of red-hot tomahawk-heads placed around his neck, a red-hot iron thrust down his throat, and when he expired his heart was cut out and eaten. Through all the torture he never uttered a groan. The Iroquois withdrew when they had finished their work. The remains of the victims were gathered up subsequently, and the head of Brébeuf is still kept as a relic at the Hôtel-Dieu, Quebec.

His memory is cherished in Canada more than that of all the other early missionaries. Although their names appear with his in letters of gold on the grand staircase of the public buildings, there is a vacant niche on the façade, with his name under it, awaiting his statue. His heroic virtues, manifested in such a remarkable degree at every stage of his missionary career, his almost incomprehensible endurance of privations and suffering, and the conviction that the reason of his death was not his association with the Hurons, but hatred of Christianity, has set on foot a movement for his canonization as a saint and martyr. An ecclesiastical court sat in 1904 for an entire year to examine his life and virtues and the cause of his death, and the result of the inquiry was forwarded to Rome.

T.J. CAMPELL (Catholic Encyclopedia)

 

Noël Chabanel

Two SaintsA Jesuit missionary among the Huron Indians, born in Southern France, 2 February, 1613; slain by a renegade Huron, 8 December, 1649. Chabanel entered the Jesuit novitiate at Toulouse at the age of seventeen, and was professor of rhetoric in several colleges of the society in the province of Toulouse. He was highly esteemed for virtue and learning. In 1643, he was sent to Canada and, after studying the Algonquin language for a time, was appointed to the mission of the Hurons, among whom he remained till his death. In these apostolic labours he was the companion of the intrepid missionary, Father Charles Garnier. As he felt a strong repugnance to the life and habits of the Indians, and feared it might result in his own withdrawal from the work, he nobly bound himself by vow never to leave mission, and he kept his vow to the end. In the “Relation” of 1649-50, Father Ragueneau describes the martyr deaths of Chabanal and Garnier, with biographical sketches of these two fathers.

EDWARD P. SPILLANE (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Charles Garnier

St. Charles GarnierJesuit Missionary, born at Paris, 1606, of Jean G. and Anne de Garault; died 7 December, 1649. He studied classics, philosophy, and theology at the Jesuit college of Clermont, joining the order in 1624. He begged to be sent to the Canadian mission, and sailed in 1636 on the same fleet as Governor Montmagny. He was sent forthwith to the Huron country, where he was to spend the fourteen years of his heroic apostolate without once returning to Quebec. In six months he mastered the difficult language, and began a career of unceasing charity which was to be crowned by martyrdom. His zeal for the conversion of infidels brooked no hindrance nor delay. Neither distance nor weather, nor danger of death could prevent him from hastening to the stake to baptize and exhort captives of war. Filth, vermin, fetid and loathsome disease could not deter him from tending and redeeming dying sinners. His frail frame miraculously resisted the intense strain. His angelic patience amidst endless trials won him the title of “lamb” of the mission, whereof Brébeuf was styled the “lion”. Several times — first in 1637, then in 1639 with Jogues, and later with Pijart — he strove to convert the Tobacco nation. His constancy finally overcame their obstinacy. They asked for the black robes (1646), and Garnier went to dwell with them until death. After the martyrdom of Fathers Daniel (1648), Brébeuf, and Lalemant (march 1649), he calmly awaited his turn. After decimating the Hurons, the Iroquois attacked the Tobacco nation. During the massacre of St. John’s village, Garnier went about exhorting his neophytes to be faithful. Mortally wounded he dragged himself towards a dying Indian to absolve him, and received the final blow in the very act of charity (1649) on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, a dogma he had vowed to defend. His letters to his brother, a carmelite, reveal his sanctity. Ragueneau testifies to his heroic spirit of sacrifice. Parkman compares his life to that of St. Peter Claver among the blacks and styles it a voluntary martyrdom.

LIONEL LINDSAY (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Gabriel Lalemant

North American MartyrsJesuit missionary, b. at Paris, 10 October, 1610, d. in the Huron country, 17 March 1649. He was the nephew of Charles and Jerome Lalemant, and became a Jesuit at Paris, 24 March 1630. He arrived in Canada, 20 September, 1646 and after remaining in Quebec for two years, was sent to the Huron missions as de Brébeuf’s assistant. He was scarcely there a month when the Iroquois attacked the settlement of St. Ignatius which they burned, and then descended on the mission of St. Louis where they found de Brébeuf and Lalemant. After setting fire to the village and killing many of the inhabitants, they led the two priests back to St. Ignatius where they were tied to stakes and after horrible torture put to death. Lalemant stood by while his companion was being killed. De Brébeuf expired at three in the afternoon. Lalemant’s suffering began at six that evening and lasted until nine o’clock next morning. When the Iroquois withdrew, the bodies of the two priests were carried over to St. Mary’s where they were interred. Some of the relics of Lalemant were subsequently carried to Quebec.

Relations, passim; ROCHEMONTEIX, Les Jesuites de la Nouvelle France; MARTIN, Hurons et Iroquois; FERLAND, Histoire du Canada; Journal des Jesuites.

T.J. CAMPBELL (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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