Today we honor the French Jesuits who were put to death by Mohawk Indians in 1649.

Thursday, 10/19/17

In 1649 the Mohawk Indians, aligned with French Canada's English enemies, put eight French Jesuit priests through prolonged tortures, and hideous deaths.

 By his endurance, St. John de Brebeuf was outstanding among them. Through thirty years of living the way the Indians lived, Brebeuf composed the first dictionary of the Huron language. He was outstanding in his ability to portage his canoe from one river to another.

Isaac Jogues, fourteen years younger, is memorable for the tortures he endured. Mohawk men stripped his fingers to their bones, and Isaac had to watch as an old woman chew away one of his thumbs. (After Dutch traders secured his release, he needed a papal intervention to allow him to offer Mass with his stubby digits. )

With the loss of eight of their prominent Jesuits, including Brebeuf and Jogues, their New France mission work came to an end in 1649, with the Mohawks bringing the priests from village to village where they were made to run gauntlets that did them in.  

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