We honor the great North American Jesuit Martyrs.

Wednesday, 10/19/16

Today we honor the Jesuit saints who were put to horrible deaths by the Mohawk Indians in 1646. The feast day honors Jean de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions, but if I ever get to be a saint I don’t want to be listed as a companion. Let’s name those other saintly men.
They were Fathers Gabriel Lalemont, Noel Chabanal, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, and John de Lalande.

The superiors of each Jesuit mission country had the duty of each year sending back to Rome an account of each priest’s doings that year.  The reports were known as the Relations. As a seminarian I read the Relations reports on each of those heroic priests. And believe me, they had great stories.

They had worked among the Hurons, where Jean de Brebeuf, the oldest of them, had written the Huron dictionary.

They were each captures by the Mohawks, a fearsome tribe of the Iroquois Nation. Before beheading them, the Mohawks moved each them through every Mohawk village where each priest was made to make his way through pairs of men and women beating them. Those people chewed off two of  Isaac Jogues’ fingers and a thumb.

There is a shrine to them all at Auriesville, New York. Two priests friends and I found that chapel at two A.M. one might when we were driving across New York.

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