He was the first of the eight North
American Jesuit martyrs to receive the palm of martyrdom. Just one month
previously, Jogues received Goupil-s vows into the order. In his letters,
Jogues calls Goupil 'an angel of innocence and a martyr of Jesus Christ.'
Lalande, an expert woodsman, offered his
services as a layman to the Jesuits in New France when he was just
nineteen. His ministry began at Ste. Marie. He accompanied Jogues to the
mission at Ossernenon in 1646, was captured with him and tortured. Lalande
died a martyr on October 19, 1646, the day after Jogues.
He escaped to France with the help of Dutch Calvinists from Fort Orange (Albany). 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 to celebrate Mass, though the mutilated condition of his hands had made this canonically impossible. The pontiff called him a martyr of Christ.
He returned to Canada in 1644 and in 1646
was sent to negotiate peace with the Iroquois. Well received by his former
captors at Ossernenon, the peace treaty was made. He returned to Quebec
but requested to be sent back to the Iroquois as a missionary.
Unfortunately, sickness had broken out in the tribe and blight had fallen
on the crops. This double calamity was attributed to Jogues whom the
Indians always regarded as a sorcerer. 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 his companions, except
Lalande, fled. Iroquois met him near Lake George, stripped him naked,
slashed him with their knives, beat him and then led him to the village.
On October 18, 1646, he was struck with a tomahawk and afterwards
decapitated. His head was fixed on the Palisades and his body thrown into
Daniel was ordained a priest at twenty-nine, was a missionary near Bias-d'or Lakes (1632), founded the first boys' College in North America (Quebec 1635), and laboured in Huronia for twelve years. On July 4, 1648, Iroquois suddenly attacked his mission at Teanaostaia' (current Mount St. Louis). Before the palisades had been scaled, Daniel hurried to the church to encourage the Christian converts, give them general absolution and baptize the catechumens. Daniel did all in his power to aid his people and give time for some to escape. He faced the enemy in vestments. Seized with amazement the Iroquois halted for a moment, and then recovering themselves discharged at him a shower of arrows. His lifeless body was thrown into the burning church and both were consumed together.
Daniel was the first of the Jesuits sent
to New France to receive the martyr's crown while ministering to the
Hurons. Father Ragueneau, his superior, speaks of him in a letter to the
general of the order as "a truly remarkable man, humble, obedient,
united with God, of never failing patience and indomitable courage in
Garnier was a Jesuit Missionary in Huronia at age thrity-one. He sailed to Canada in 1636 and in six months he mastered the difficult language. For thirteen years he was pastor and missionary to the Hurons and Petuns (Tobacco nation). Gentle, innocent, fearless, a person of faith he drew converts to the faith. His angelic patience amidst endless trials won him the title of lamb, of the mission, where Brébeuf was styled the lion.,
Several times -- first in 1637, then in
1639 with Jogues, and later with Pijart -- he strove to convert the Petuns.
His constancy finally won out. In 1646 they asked for the black robes
(Jesuits), and Garnier went to live with them until death. After
decimating the Hurons, the Iroquois attacked the Petuns. During the
massacre of St. John,s village (December 7, 1649), though wounded, Garnier
continued to baptize neophytes and to assist a wounded Huron. In this act
he died at the age of forty-four about thirty miles from Ste. Marie.
was a scholar who had a strong desire for the mission of Huronia. He
arrived in Canada in 1646, and after remaining in Quebec for two years,
was sent to the Huron missions as Brébeuf's assistant. He was scarcely
there a month when Iroquois attacked the settlement. After setting fire to
the village and killing many Huron, the Iroquois moved Lalemant and Brébeuf
to St. Ignace where they were tied to stakes and tortured. Lalemant died
March 17, 1649, the day after Brébeuf. He summed up his own strength,
"My strength is the strength of God. In Him, I can do all things.
Although uneducated and unable to read and write, Kateri led a life of prayer and penitential practices. She taught the young and helped those in the village who were poor or sick. Her favorite devotion was to fashion crosses out of sticks and place them throughout the woods. These crosses served as reminders that God is present everywhere in the world. When the winter hunting season took Kateri and many of the villagers away from the village, she made her own little chapel in the woods by carving a cross on a tree and spent time in prayer there, kneeling in the snow
In July 1677, Kateri left her village and embarked on a two-month journey of more than 320 km through woods, rivers, and swamps to the Catholic mission of St. Francis Xavier at Sault Saint-Louis, near Montreal because she wanted to devote her life to working for God. In 1678 she was received in the Confrèrie de la Sante-Famille and took a vow of perpetual chastity in 1679.
Kateri's motto was, "Who can tell me what is most pleasing to God that I may do it?" When asked why they gathered around Kateri in church, people answered that they felt close to God when she prayed. They said her face changed when she was praying. It became full of beauty and peace, as if she was looking at God's face. It is said that this transformation also occurred when she died in 1680.
Jean de Brèbeuf (1593-1649)
Celebrated in history and poetry, Brèbeuf, the apostle of the Hurons, was the first Jesuit Missionary to arrive in Huronia in 1626. He worked throughout the entire district, founded mission outposts and converted thousands to the faith. A master of the Indian language, he compiled the first Huron-French dictionary, wrote a catechism in Huron and composed Canada's first Christmas carol, the Huron Carol, where he tried to incarnate the mystery of 'God-dwelling-among-us' in Native terms. Massive in body and untiring in endurance, the Indians called him Echon (load-bearer).
His visions of the cross and of his future martyrdom were fulfilled at age fifty-six when he was captured with Lallemant by Iroquois and dragged to St. Ignace, six miles from St. Marie. On March 16, 1649, he was tied to a stake and tortured for hours before dying. His flesh was stripped from the bone, his skin blistered by boiling water in mockery of the baptisms he had conducted among the Huron, his body burned by pitch and resin-drenched bark and a collar of red-hot tomahawk-heads placed around his neck, his lips cut off when he would not stop praying for the salvation of his tormentors and, finally, he was scalped and his heart ripped from his chest during his final conscious moments.
By 1650 the Huron nation was decimated, and the laboriously built mission was abandoned. However, it proved to be "one of the triumphant failures that are commonplace in the Church's history." Brèbeuf's courage and dedication inspired many and created a wave of vocations and missionary fervor in France, while giving new spirit to the missionaries in New France.
Brèbeuf had the heart of a giant and a
genuine sensitivity toward the Hurons. His advice to new missionaries was:
'If I were asked to advise anyone who was beginning to work among the
Indians, I would tell them frankly what I think they will themselves learn
by experience, that is that they must be very careful not to condemn
outright a thousand things that are part of Indian customs and which are
often offensive to people trained and used to another way of life. It is
easy to treat as 'irreligious' what is mere ignorance and to see the
devil's intervention in what is merely human. (Remember) that it is
difficult to see all in one day, and time is the most reliable teacher
that one can consult.' In 1637, Brèbeuf drew up a list of instructions
for Jesuit missionaries destined to work among the Hurons. His first
instruction was, 'You must love these Hurons, ransomed by the blood of the
Son of God, as brothers.'