Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Christopher Stefanick

10/11/2011 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This quadricentennial of the Jesuit mission gives us cause to look to our spiritual roots.

They set out into lands where a violent, gruesome death was constantly before them.  We set out into an increasingly anti-religious culture where we might lose a few friends for standing up for the truth. They set out on canoes into uncharted waters. We set out in our cars to work or the supermarket.

An Image of the North American Martyrs

An Image of the North American Martyrs

Article Highlights

By Christopher Stefanick

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/11/2011 (2 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: Christopher Stefanick, North American Martyrs, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Charles Garnier, St. Rene Goupil, St. Anthony Daniel, St. John de Brebeuf, St. Gabriel Lalemont


DENVER, CO (Catholic Online) - As I knelt staring at St. John de Brebeuf's skull through the glass case at the Martyr's Shrine in Midland, Ontario, I thought about the courage of our founding fathers of faith in North America. 

In 1611, Jesuit missionaries first set foot on our continent.  Within forty years eight of them, (whose feast day is October 19th) gave up their lives near the Georgian Bay and in upstate New York.  This quadricentennial of the Jesuit mission gives us cause to look to our spiritual roots. 

Much like the setting sun, we often see the full beauty of the Saints as their mortal light exits this world.  This is especially true of martyrs.  The following is a brief summary of a few of the deaths of these Jesuits, which sums up the heroism with which they lived. 

When St. Isaac Jogues was received into the Jesuits his superior asked what he desired.  His response: "Ethiopia and Martyrdom."  "Not so." was the reply.  "You will receive Canada and martyrdom." 

After years of ministry among the Huron, St. Isaac Jogues was captured and tortured by the Mohawk Indians.  On the verge of execution, he escaped and was smuggled back to France by the Dutch.  He quickly rose to "stardom."  Everyone regarded him as a living Saint and national hero.  The Queen of France even stooped to kiss his mangled hands, fingers missing, having being cut or gnawed off by his torturers.  St. Isaac could have retired in the safety of France but returned to his mission as soon as he was able.  He was killed by a Mohawk brave with a tomahawk.

St. Charles Garnier was ministering to his Huron village when it was attacked.  He ran from one burning cabin to another, baptizing and comforting his people when he was shot in the upper chest and lower abdomen.  After regaining consciousness he saw a wounded Huron writhing across the room.  He pulled himself up and struggled toward the dying man to help him.  An Iroquois brave noticed and killed him with his hatchet.  He died with hand outstretched, reaching to minister to the wounded. 

St. Rene Goupil was a layman who worked side by side with the Jesuits.  When St. Isaac Jogues was captured there was a time when St. Rene could have easily escaped but chose to stay with his friend.  He endured weeks of disfiguring tortures, during which he comforted and converted fellow captives who were suffering a similar fate.  He was tomahawked while walking side by side with Jogues for teaching a child how to make the sign of the cross.  He fell to the ground saying the name of Jesus. 

St. Anthony Daniel had just finished celebrating Mass with his Huron friends at sunrise when the war cries of the Iroquois rang out through his village.  He went to those who had been butchered to comfort and baptize them in their last moments.  When the Iroquois were headed toward his church to burn it down he sprinted toward them and commanded them to stop.  They did for a moment, stunned by this unarmed man's courage.  Then they brought him down with muskets and arrows. 

St. John de Brebeuf was a huge man with amazing courage.  Though he lived under constant threat of death, a fellow missionary wrote, "Nothing could upset him during the twelve years I've known him." 

He was the first missionary to enter Huronia.  In time he became like one of them.  He wrote instructions to those who wanted to join his mission starting with, "You must love these Huron, ransomed by the blood of the Son of God, as brothers." 

Though he could have escaped, he chose to die with them when Iroquois raided their village.  The younger St. Gabriel Lalemont, who had looked up to St. John, remained and died with him as well.  Together they underwent some of the most gruesome tortures of any martyr in history for endless hours.  Through it all they comforted their fellow captives.  John reminded them, "The sufferings will end with your lives.  The grandeur which follows will never have an end." 

Seven years after their deaths, the daughter of an Iroquois chief was born in the very tribe that killed them.  She is known today as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be beatified, proving true the words spoken by Tertullian 1,400 years before these martyrs entered paradise, "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church!"   

These men set out into nations where a violent, gruesome death was constantly before them.  We set out into an increasingly anti-religious culture where we might lose a few friends for standing up for the truth, or at worst, get mocked or sued, but probably not tomahawked.  They set out on canoes into uncharted waters filled with tribes who were hunting them down.  We set out in our cars to work or the supermarket to bump shoulders with a world that needs to be reminded of God through our words and our charity.   

If only we had a little of the courage of our founding fathers in faith.

-----    

Speaker and author Chris Stefanick is Director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver.  Visit him at http://www.chris-stefanick.com/

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Duc in Altum: Men, Put Out Into the Deep on the Feast of St Joseph Watch

Image of

By Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

This model of Christian manliness recommends himself to us not for any strange or exciting things he did (because he really didn't) but for the daily listening to and heeding the voice of Almighty God - in the home, in the synagogue and Temple, in the ... continue reading


Feast of Joseph, Husband of Mary: Time for Christian Men to Follow His Example Watch

Image of St. Joseph is our teacher and shows us the way to love and follow Jesus Christ. he shows us how to be faithful husbands, fathers and servants of the Lord. Joseph is a true 'man's man' calling all men to follow Jesus.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

He still gives His message and His mission to men who, like Joseph, cultivate ears to hear and then choose to exercise authentic manly virtue and act out of courage. He still invites men to turn the ordinary into extraordinary through cooperation and ... continue reading


Is St. Joseph worthy of commemoration?

Image of Saint Joseph's love for Jesus is worth of commemoration.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is the feast day of St. Joseph, which means this is the perfect time to check out our offerings of St. Joseph medals, prayer cards and the many other religious products we have at Catholic Shopping .com. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Catholic Shopping .com ... continue reading


After the Corned Beef: St. Patrick Challenges Modern Christians to be Missionaries

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to learn a lesson from this great missionary. He saw what was good in the culture and "baptized" what could be redeemed. He respected the civil order, but never compromised the faith. Then, he went for the next generation with all his efforts, preaching the ... continue reading


Who was the man named Saint Patrick?

Image of Saint Patrick not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, but it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites.

By Catholic Online

Saint Patrick - remembered with parades, the wearing of green and feasts throughout the world wherever there are people of Irish descent, or wish to be -- was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to the country. ... continue reading


Bet you didn't know these 10 things about St. Patrick and Ireland!

Image of Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are ... continue reading


Thomas Aquinas: An Example for a New Generation of Apologists Watch

Image of If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross- St Thomas Aquinas

By Deacon Keith Fournier

St. Thomas Aquinas knew that all truth finds its source - and its fulfillment - in the One who is Truth Incarnate, Jesus the Christ. In this way, he was a pioneer of a New Evangelization during the second millennium and a model for our efforts to in the Third.He ... continue reading


Feast of the Deacon St Vincent Calls the Church and her Deacons to Heroic Virtue

Image of Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the center of its ... continue reading


Hallelujah! Pierre Favre recognized as a saint Watch

Image of Pierre Favre was the first Jesuit after Ignatius of Loyola. Icon of Pierre Favre by Fr. William McNichols

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has named his favorite Jesuit a saint, bypassing traditional rules for sainthood. On his birthday last Tuesday, Pope Francis recognized 16th century Jesuit Pierre Favre as a saint. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Saint Pierre Favre is a favorite of ... continue reading


A Letter From St Francis of Assisi to All the Faithful: We Must be Simple, Humble and Pure Watch

Image of St. Francis of Assisi

By St. Francis of Assisi

We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter