Canadian Martyrs

Last updated
Canadian Martyrs
North American Martyrs.jpg
Holy card depicting the martyrs
BornFrance
Died17th century, Canada and Upstate New York
Martyred by Iroquois
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Church
Beatified June 21, 1925, Rome, by Pope Pius XI
Canonized June 29, 1930, Rome, by Pope Pius XI
Major shrine Martyrs' Shrine, Midland, Ontario, Canada
National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, Auriesville, New York
Feast September 26 (in Canada and among Traditional Roman Catholics)
October 19 (General Calendar); Anglican Church of Canada
Patronage Canada

The Canadian Martyrs, also known as the North American Martyrs (French: Saints martyrs canadiens, Holy Canadian Martyrs), were eight Jesuit missionaries from Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. They were ritually tortured and killed on various dates in the mid-17th century in Canada, in what is now southern Ontario, and in upstate New York, during the warfare between the Iroquois (particularly the Mohawk people) and the Huron. They have subsequently been canonized and venerated as martyrs by the Catholic Church.

Contents

The martyrs are St. René Goupil (1642), [1] St. Isaac Jogues (1646), [2] St. Jean de Lalande (1646), [3] St. Antoine Daniel (1648), [4] St. Jean de Brébeuf (1649), [5] St. Noël Chabanel (1649), [6] St. Charles Garnier (1649), [6] and St. Gabriel Lalemant (1649). [5]

Jesuit map Jesuit map NF.jpg
Jesuit map

Background

Jesuit missionaries worked among the Huron (Wendat), an Iroquoian-speaking people who occupied territory in the Georgian Bay area of Central Ontario. (They were not part of the Iroquois Confederacy, initially made up of five tribes south and east of the Great Lakes.) The area of their traditional territory is called Huronia. The Huron in this area were farmers, fishermen and traders who lived in villages surrounded by defensive wooden palisades for protection. [7] Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was the headquarters for the French Jesuit Mission to the Huron Wendat people. [8]

By the late 1640s, the Jesuits believed they were making progress in their mission to the Huron, and claimed to have made many converts. But, the priests were not universally trusted. Many Huron considered them to be malevolent shamans who brought death and disease wherever they travelled; after European contact, the Huron had suffered high fatalities in epidemics after 1634 of smallpox and other Eurasian infectious diseases, to which aboriginal peoples had no immunity. (Epidemiological studies have shown the diseases were likely carried by the increased number of children immigrating after 1634 with families from cities in nations where smallpox was endemic, such as France, England and the Netherlands).

The nations of the Iroquois Confederacy considered the Jesuits legitimate targets of their raids and warfare, as the missionaries were nominally allies of the Huron and French fur traders. Retaliating for French colonial attacks against the Iroquois was also a reason for their raids against the Huron and Jesuits.

In 1642, the Mohawk captured René Goupil, [1] and Father Isaac Jogues, [2] bringing them back to their village of Ossernenon south of the Mohawk River. They ritually tortured both men and killed Goupil. After several months of captivity, Jogues was ransomed by Dutch traders and the minister Johannes Megapolensis from New Netherland (later Albany). He returned for a time to France, but then sailed back to Quebec. In 1646 he and Jean de Lalande were killed during a visit to Ossernenon intended to achieve peace between the French and the Mohawk. [3]

Other Jesuit missionaries were killed by the Mohawk and martyred in the following years: Antoine Daniel (1648), [9] Jean de Brébeuf (1649), [5] Noël Chabanel (1649), [6] Charles Garnier (1649), [6] and Gabriel Lalemant (1649). [5] All were canonized in 1930 as the Canadian Martyrs, also known as the North American Martyrs.

Legacy and honours

Martyr's Shrine, Midland, Ontario Matyr's Shrine.JPG
Martyr's Shrine, Midland, Ontario

The martyrs were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. [10] They are collectively the secondary patron saints of Canada. St. René Goupil, St. Isaac Jogues, and St. Jean de Lalande are the first three U.S. saints, martyred at Ossernenon, 9 miles west of the confluence of the Schoharie and Mohawk rivers. Their feast day is celebrated in the General Roman Calendar and in the United States on October 19 under the title of "John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs," and in Canada on September 26.

The Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario, [11] the site of the Jesuits' missionary work among the Huron, is the National Shrine to the Canadian Martyrs.

A National Shrine of the North American Martyrs has been constructed and dedicated in Auriesville, New York. [12] It is located south of the Mohawk River, near a Jesuit cemetery containing remains of missionaries who died in the area from 1669 to 1684, when the Jesuits had a local mission to the Mohawk.

Churches dedicated to the North American Martyrs

Churches dedicated to the martyrs include the following:

Canadian Martyrs' Church in Hamilton, Ontario St-Charles Garnier Church in Hamilton Ontario

Schools dedicated to the North American Martyrs

Many schools also honor the martyrs, including the following:

The torture of the martyrs by the Iroquois is the subject depicted in the twelve-light World War I memorial window (1933) by Charles William Kelsey at the Loyola College (Montreal) chapel, at the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes on the campus of Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Maryland, and a side shine at Madonna Della Strada Chapel on the campus of Loyola University Chicago. Fordham University additionally has named the Martyrs' Court residential complex in their collective honor, as well as individual halls in the complex being named for Jogues, Goupil and Lalande.

The martyrs are also honored at Camp Ondessonk, a Catholic summer camp in Ozark, Illinois, where each unit of cabins is named after one of the martyrs, and also at the American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

See also

Related Research Articles

Jean de Brébeuf Jesuit missionary and martyr

Jean de Brébeuf was a French Jesuit missionary who travelled to New France (Canada) in 1625. There he worked primarily with the Huron for the rest of his life, except for a few years in France from 1629 to 1633. He learned their language and culture, writing extensively about each to aid other missionaries.

Mohawk people Indigenous tribe of North America

The Mohawk people are the most easterly tribe of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy. They are an Iroquoian-speaking indigenous people of North America, with communities in northern New York State and southeastern Canada, primarily around Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River. As one of the five original members of the Iroquois League, the Mohawk are known as the Keepers of the Eastern Door – the traditional guardians of the Iroquois Confederation against invasions from the east.

Kateri Tekakwitha Algonquin-Mohawk Roman Catholic saint

Kateri Tekakwitha, given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks, is a Catholic saint who was an Algonquin–Mohawk laywoman. Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died and her face was scarred. She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen, when she was renamed Kateri, and baptized in honor of Catherine of Siena. Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining five years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River in New France, now Canada.

Charles Garnier (missionary) Jesuit missionary

Charles Garnier, S.J., was a Jesuit missionary working in New France. He was killed by Iroquois in a Petun village on December 7, 1649.

Isaac Jogues Canadian saint

St. Isaac Jogues, S.J. was a missionary and martyr who traveled and worked among the Iroquois, Huron, and other Native populations in North America. He was the first European to name Lake George, calling it Lac du Saint Sacrement. In 1646, Jogues was martyred by the Mohawk at their village of Ossernenon, north of the Mohawk River.

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons living museum in Ontario, Canada

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was a French Jesuit settlement in Wendake, the land of the Wendat, near modern Midland, Ontario, from 1639 to 1649. It was the first European settlement in what is now the province of Ontario. Eight missionaries from Sainte-Marie were martyred, and were canonized by the Catholic Church in 1930. Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1920. A reconstruction of the mission now operates as a living museum.

René Goupil French Jesuit lay brother and missionary

René Goupil, S.J., was a French Jesuit lay missionary who became a lay brother of the Society of Jesus shortly before his death. He was the first of the eight North American Martyrs of the Roman Catholic Church to receive the crown of martyrdom and the first canonized Catholic martyr in North America

Noël Chabanel Jesuit missionary and martyr

Noël Chabanel was a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, and one of the Canadian Martyrs.

Antoine Daniel 17th-century Jesuit missionary and martyr

Saint Antoine Daniel was a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, and one of the eight Canadian Martyrs.

Jean de Lalande Jesuit lay missionary

Saint Jean de Lalande was a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and one of the eight North American Martyrs. He was killed at the Mohawk village of Ossernenon after being captured by warriors.

Gabriel Lalemant Jesuit missionary

Saint Gabriel Lalemant was a Jesuit missionary in New France beginning in 1646. Caught up in warfare between the Huron and nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, he was killed in St. Ignace by Mohawk warriors and is one of the eight Canadian Martyrs.

Auriesville, New York hamlet in New York, United States

Auriesville is a hamlet in the northeastern part of the Town of Glen in Montgomery County, New York, United States, along the south bank of the Mohawk River and west of Fort Hunter. It lies about forty miles west of Albany, the state capital. A Jesuit cemetery is located there, as French Jesuits founded a mission village at Ossernenon from 1667 until 1684, when the Mohawk destroyed it. Auries is said to have been the name of the last Mohawk known to have lived there. Settlers named the village after him.

Paul Ragueneau is known most notable as a Catholic Jesuit missionary.

Father Simon Le Moyne, S.J. was a Jesuit priest who became involved with the mission to the Hurons in the New World. Le Moyne had 16 years of education and experience in the priesthood in France before his arrival in Quebec in 1638. During that same year, he headed out to his mission in Huron country. The destruction of the Huron nation by the Iroquois brought him back to Quebec in 1650. He undertook numerous missions to the Iroquois at great risk to his personal safety. He is most notable in Canadian history for his work as an ambassador of peace to the Iroquois.

Guillaume Couture French missionary

Guillaume Couture was a citizen of New France. During his life he was a lay missionary with the Jesuits, a survivor of torture, a member of an Iroquois council, a translator, a diplomat, a militia captain, and a lay leader among the colonists of the Pointe-Lévy in the Seigneury of Lauzon, a district of New France located on the South Side of Quebec City.

<i>Fathers and Crows</i> book by William T. Vollmann

Fathers and Crows is a 1992 historical novel by the American author William T. Vollmann. It is the second book in a seven-book series called Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes.

National Shrine of the North American Martyrs church building in Glen, United States of America

The National Shrine of the North American Martyrs, also dedicated as the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, is a Roman Catholic shrine in Auriesville, New York dedicated to the three Jesuit missionaries who were martyred at the Mohawk Indian village of Ossernenon in 1642 and 1646.

Jesuit missions in North America

Jesuit missions in North America began early in the 17th century, faltered at the beginning of the 18th, disappeared during the suppression of the Society of Jesus around 1763, and returned around 1830 after the restoration of the Society. The missions were established as part of the colonial drive of France and Spain during the period, the "saving of souls" being an accompaniment of the constitution of Nouvelle-France and early New Spain. The efforts of the Jesuits in North America were paralleled by their China missions on the other side of the world, and in South America. They left written documentation of their efforts, in the form of The Jesuit Relations.

Between 1634 and 1655, the Jesuits established a home and a settlement that was destroyed in 1643 during the time when the missions in New France along the Saint Lawrence River. They soon moved deeper into the colony’s territory in order to live with and convert the local Huron population. During this time, however, their missionary efforts were fraught with disappointment and frustration. In other colonies, such as in Latin America, the Jesuit missions had found a more eager and receptive audience to Christianity, the result of a chaotic atmosphere of violence and conquest. But in New France, where French authority and coercive powers did not extend far and where French settlement was sparse, the Jesuits found conversion far more difficult. Nevertheless, the French missionary settlements were integral to maintaining political, economic, and military ties with the Huron and other native peoples in the region. The contact between the two had important consequences in lifestyle, social and cultural attitudes, as well as in spiritual practice. The French Jesuits and Huron found they had to negotiate their religious, social, and cultural differences in order to accommodate one another.

References

  1. 1 2 Jesuit Relations: 28, "Account of René Goupil (donné)," by Father Isaac Jogues
  2. 1 2 Jesuit Relations: 31, VIII
  3. 1 2 Jesuit Relations vol 34, LXIV
  4. Jesuit Relations vol 33, LXVII
  5. 1 2 3 4 Jesuit Relations vol 35, IV
  6. 1 2 3 4 Jesuit Relations vol 40, LXXXIII
  7. "Canadian Martyrs and Huronia", Athabasca University
  8. Sainte Marie among the Hurons
  9. Jesuit Relations, vol 33, LXVII
  10. "Celebrating the 350th Anniversary of the Canadian Martyrs" (PDF). Conca can Inc. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  11. Martyrs Shrine, Midand Ontario
  12. Martyrs' Shrine, Auriesville Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  13. https://www.jesuitnola.org/about/campus/chapel-of-the-north-american-martyrs/

Further reading