Canadian Martyrs

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Canadian Martyrs
North American Martyrs.jpg
Holy card depicting the martyrs
BornFrance
Died17th century, Canada and Upstate New York
Martyred byIroquois
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 Canadiens 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.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

French Canadians are an ethnic group who trace their ancestry to French colonists who settled in Canada from the 17th century onward. Today, people of French heritage make up the majority of native speakers of French in Canada, who in turn account for about 22 per cent of the country's total population. The majority of French Canadians reside in Quebec, where they constitute the majority of the province's population, although French-Canadian and francophone minority communities exist in all other Canadian provinces and territories as well. Besides the Québécois, distinct French speaking ethnic groups in Canada include the Acadians of the Maritime Provinces, the Brayons of New Brunswick, and the Métis of the Prairie Provinces, among other smaller groups.

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.

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]

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.

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, south of the Mohawk River.

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.

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]

Wyandot people Native American ethnic group

The Wyandot people or Wendat, also called the Huron Nation and Huron people, are an Iroquoian-speaking peoples of North America who emerged as a tribe around the north shore of Lake Ontario. They traditionally spoke the Wyandot language, a Northern Iroquoian language, and were believed to number over 30,000 at the time of European encounter in the second decade of the 17th century.

Iroquoian languages language family

The Iroquoian languages are a language family of indigenous peoples of North America. They are known for their general lack of labial consonants. The Iroquoian languages are polysynthetic and head-marking.

Central Ontario Secondary region in Ontario, Canada

Central Ontario is a secondary region of Southern Ontario in the Canadian province of Ontario that lies between Georgian Bay and the eastern end of Lake Ontario.

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).

Smallpox eradicated viral disease

Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977 and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980. The risk of death following contracting the disease was about 30%, with higher rates among babies. Often those who survived had extensive scarring of their skin and some were left blind.

In epidemiology, an infection is said to be endemic in a population when that infection is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area without external inputs. For example, chickenpox is endemic in the UK, but malaria is not. Every year, there are a few cases of malaria reported in the UK, but these do not lead to sustained transmission in the population due to the lack of a suitable vector. While it might be common to say that AIDS is "endemic" in Africa, meaning found in an area, this is a use of the word in its etymological, rather than epidemiological, form. AIDS cases in Africa are increasing, so the disease is not in an endemic steady state. It is correct to call the spread of AIDS in Africa an epidemic.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands, sometimes informally called Holland, is a country located in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories in the Caribbean. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. In the northern parts of the country, Low German is also spoken.

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]

Johannes Megapolensis (1603–1670) was a dominie (pastor) of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Dutch colony of New Netherland, beginning in 1642. Serving for several years at Fort Orange on the upper Hudson River, he is credited with being the first Protestant missionary to the Indians in North America. He later served as a minister in Manhattan, staying through the takeover by the English in 1664.

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.

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 Brébeuf Jesuit missionary and martyr

Saint 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.

Noël Chabanel Jesuit missionary and martyr

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

Mohawk people Indigenous tribe from 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 Roman Catholic saint

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, 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, baptized in honor of Saint 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 in New France, now Canada.

Charles Garnier (missionary) Jesuit missionary

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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.

Jérôme Lalemant, S.J. was a French Jesuit priest who was a leader of the Jesuit mission in New France.

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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.

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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