Monday, October 19, 2009

Memorial of the North American Martyrs

Between the years 1642 and 1649 eight members of the Society of Jesus were killed in North America. While on his way by canoe to the country of the Hurons, Isaac Jogues and several Huron Christians were captured by a war party of Mohawk Iroquois. They were taken back to the Mohawk village where they were tortured in various gruesome ways. Jogues had several of his fingers bitten or burned off by the Huron and Iroquois tribes. These brave missionaries gave their lives to bring the true faith to the natives of that region. Saint Isaac Jogues died on October 18, 1647, and Saint John de Brebeuf on March 16, 1648.

The names of the martyrs are:
  1. Jean de Brébeuf, SJ
  2. Isaac Jogues, SJ
  3. Gabriel Lalemant, SJ
  4. Anthony Daniel, SJ
  5. Charles Garnier, SJ
  6. Noël Chabanel, SJ
  7. René Goupil, SJ
  8. Jean de La Lande (layman)
To learn a more about each of these martyrs for the faith and the miracles that lead to their canonisation, please visit this site.


"For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.

Jesus, my Lord and Savior, what can I give you in return for all the favors you have first conferred on me? I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name. I vow before your eternal Father and the Holy Spirit, before your most holy Mother and her most chaste spouse, before the angels, apostles and martyrs, before my blessed fathers Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier - in truth I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.

I bind myself in this way so that for the rest of my life I will have neither permission for freedom to refuse opportunities of dying and shedding my blood for you, unless at a particular juncture I should consider it more suitable for your glory to act otherwise at that time. Further, I bind myself to this so that, on receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit. For this reason, my beloved Jesus, and because of the surging joy which moves me, here and now I offer my blood and body and life. May I die only for you, if you will grant me this grace, since you willingly died for me. Let me so live that you may grant me the gift of such a happy death. In this way, my God and Savior, I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it. My God, even if all the brutal tortures which prisoners in this region must endure should fall on them, I offer myself most willingly to them and I alone shall suffer them all."

-- From the spiritual diaries of St Jean de Brébeuf


Kindred Spirit said...

Thank you very much for posting this. These martyrs cannot receive too much attention for proving with their deaths their great love of Almighty God and of His Church.

ocd sister said...

Glad you liked the post, Kindred Spirit. I forget which one (Jogues or de Brébeuf), but one of them was part of the founding group of a famous cathedral about 40 mins from where I live. Anyway. I think there is much we can learn from them. We may not be tortured the way these martyrs were, but we are suffering from the consequences of abortion, drug addiction, broken families... May we learn to offer everything to God for the salvation of souls following the example of the North American Martyrs. Cheers!