Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Feast of Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, and Companions

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From Catherine Fournier's Domestic-Church.com, a late '30's account by a secular journalist:
For 10 years Ste. Marie was the centre of the Jesuit mission to the Huron. There the Fathers taught the Natives how to treat the land so it would nourish them; how to live so they could be healthy; how to live according to a law which would bring the greatest good to the greatest number; and in addition how to sustain the inner life of the spirit so it might be strong enough to take the individual through life's experiences.

To this end the Fathers learned the Huron tongue and lived among the Natives year in and year out, impressing upon them the sweetness of the Christian faith through their own example of kindness, unselfishness and knowledge - not to mention their purity of lives and conduct.

It remains in our history one of the noblest of all humanitarian efforts and one of the highest of all Christian actions.

In 1649 the Iroquois came raiding into the north. One by one, the Huron villages fell before the Iroquois and five of the missionaries fell in Martyrdom. All through Huronia the smoke rose from the burning and destruction. The missionaries suffered the anguish of the spirit, beaten back once more by hatred and violence. But was it not always so? "Crucify Him -- Crucify Him". To the end, the Martyrs bore themselves with that strange, benign dignity of holy office -- looking with eyes full of compassion upon the Iroquois who thought that the death of a man was the end of faith.

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